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Football Friday: East Bladen (3-2, 7-2) at Union (2-3, 5-4)

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East Bladen’s Eagles look to return to their winning ways Friday night when they travel to Union for a Four County Conference contest.

“We hope to show up a little better than we did last Friday,” said Eagle Coach Robby Priest referring to last week’s loss to Wallace-Rose Hill.

“We got outside every day this week, and we got a lot done,” continued Coach Priest.

Speedy junior Ethan Hines leads the East Bladen offense with 726 yards rushing and 9 rushing touchdowns. Ethan has also returned 3 kick-offs and one punt for touchdowns, including a 99-yard kick-off return against Wallace last week.

Twin brother Eian Hines has run for 579 yards and 6 touchdowns, junior Kyle Tatum rushed for 494 yards and 9 touchdowns while Eian Hines was out with an injury. Senior Nikita Owens has added 358 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns.

Senior Alex Coates is expected to start at quarterback for the fourth consecutive week. Ty McMillian practiced this week, but his status is uncertain. Coates has completed 8 of 13 passes for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Senior Zachary Johnson leads the Eagle receivers with 6 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. Sophmore Sincere Smith has 5 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. Junior kicker Jesus Ramos has made 31 of 36 extra point attempts.

Senior lineman Chris Cromartie anchors the East Bladen defense with 59 tackles and 5 sacks. Junior Derrick Burney has 56 tackles, and opportunistic junior Michael Walter has 5 sacks and 4 fumble recoveries.

Sophmore Xavia McDowell has recovered 3 fumbles and made 46 tackles, and Tatum has returned a pass interception for a touchdown and recovered 2 onside kicks.

After back-to-back 3-9 seasons, Coach Doug Burley’s Spartans already have 5 wins this season. “They fly around on defense, and they have got some athletes,” said Eagle Coach Robby Priest.

Junior Dawson Thornton directs the diverse Spartan offense that will line-up in everything from the spread to the wishbone. Thornton has completed 25 of 58 passes for 287 yards and 4 touchdowns, but has thrown 5 interceptions. Junior Nadir Goodwin tops the Union receivers with 10 catches for 110 yards.

Junior Chris Nash leads the ground attack with 694 yards and 7 touchdowns.Senior Shyquan Brunson has run for 397 yards and 3 touchdowns. Junior Tamah Chestnutt follows with 331 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

Junior linebacker Montrel Williams headlines the Spartan defense with 100 tackles and 11 sacks. Goodwin and senior Jawawn Newkirk have 5 sacks each.Junior Donavan Hayes and Nash 66 have been credited with 66 tackles each, and Hayes has picked off 2 passes.

East Bladen defeated the Spartans 49-7 last year and 36-6 two years ago.

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