East Bladen 12, Union 8
Junior Eian Hines dashed 6 yards for the winning touchdown after East Bladen recovered a late Union fumble to help the Eagles escape with a 12-8 Four County Conference football victory at Union Friday night.
The Spartans had stopped a 75-yard Eagle drive on downs at the Union 4 yardline with 3:22 left in the game. However 3 plays later Union’s star halfback Chris Nash was drilled at the 8 yardline, and his fumble was recovered by Eagle sophmore Sincere Smith at the Spartan 6 yardline.
The game was halted at that time as Nash received treatment for a neck injury suffered on the play and was transferred to an ambulance.
On the first play after the lengthy delay Hines charged through the right side for the touchdown. A pass for the 2-point conversion fell incomplete and the Eagles led 12-8 with 1:41 remaining.
The Spartans completed only one pass for 6 yards on their next 4 attempts and turned the ball over on downs at their own 41 as East Bladen sealed the victory.
“We were lucky,” said Eagle Coach Robby Priest. “I am pleased with the win, but the defense bailed us out tonight, and the offense did just enough to win.”
As for the Eagles dominating the final 1:47 after the long delay Coach Priest said,” We had time to sit them down and construct some things. We had an idea all game long of what would work if we could just put a body on a body, and we reviewed our blocking schemes during the delay.”
Eian Hines carried 18 times for 129 yards to lead the Eagle offense. His brother Ethan, the team’s leading rusher, did not play due to an ankle injury. East Bladen only managed 182 yards rushing and 213 total yards.
Before being injured Nash rushed 19 times for 111 yards. The Spartans were held to 146 yards rushing and 167 total yards.
The Spartans reached the Eagle 40 yardline on their first possession thanks to a trio of East Bladen offside penalties, but senior Chris Cromartie threw a Spartan runner for a 5-yard loss on third down to force a punt.
The Eagles picked up one first down, before Nash scooped up an East Bladen fumble and raced 39 yards to the end zone. However the touchdown was called back due to a block-in-the-back penalty.
Union drove 23 yards to the Eagle 8 yardline, but a bad pitch resulted in a 7-yard loss, and the Spartans turned the ball over on downs at the East Bladen ten.
The Eagles covered the 90 yards in ten plays. Hines bolted 64 yards on a counter-play to the Spartan 25. On fourth down from the 18, senior Alex Coates hurled a touchdown pass to a wide-open Zachary Johnson in the left side of the end zone. A run for the conversion was stopped just short, and East led 6-0 with 6:07 left in the half.
Union responded with a 56 yard scoring drive in just 5 plays. Nash broke free for a 45-yard run, and 2 plays later, junior Dawson Thornton tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to junior Nadir Goodwin. Nash charged into the end zone for the conversion and an 8-6 Spartan lead 2:42 before halftime.
On their first possession of the second half, the Spartans advanced 62 yards to a first down at the Eagle 26 yardline. A 34-yard burst by Shyquan Brunson highlighted the drive which was stopped on downs at the East Bladen 31.
Hines popped free for a 16-yard gain on the next East Bladen snap, but 2 plays later Union’s Malik Williams recovered an Eagle fumble at the East Bladen 47.
The Spartans drove to the Eagle 26, but fumbled the ball back as East sophmore Xavia McDowell recovered at the East Bladen 23.
Hines darted 17 yards on the counter-play, and Tatum ran for 9 more. A 13-yard pass from Coates to Tatum put the Eagles at the Union 12 yardline. A trio of carries by Hines and a half-the-distance offside penalty resulted in a fourth and a half yard to go play, but the Spartan defense stopped the play for a yard-loss.
The Eagles improved to 4-2 in league play and can clinch the No. 2 Class 2-A play-off spot from the Four County with a victory next week. Rival West Bladen will visit Lenon Fisher Stadium on Senior Night for the Eagles.
East Bladen 0 – 6 – 0– 6– 12
Union 0 — 8 –0 – 0 – 8
EB–Zachary Johnson 18 pass from Alex Coates (run failed)
U’on – Nadir Goodwin 8 pass from Dawson Thornton (Chris Nash run)
EB – Eian Hines 6 run (pass failed)
Rushing: EB–Eian Hines 18-129, Kyle Tatum 9-29, Nikita Owens 9-20, Xavia McDowell 3-10, Johnson 4-5, Coates 4-(-11); U’on – Nash 19-111, Shyquan Brunson 3-34, Goodwin 5-12, Andruw Brunson 1-1, Tamah Chestnutt 2-(-4), Thornton 4-(-8).
Passing: EB – Coates 2-5-0, 31; Thornton 4-7-0, 21, Goodwin 0-1-0.
Receiving: EB– Johnson 1-18, Tatum 1-13; Goodwin 2-19, Donavan Hayes 1-6, Jawawn Newkirk 1-(-4).
Records: East Bladen 4-2, 8-2; Union 2-4, 5-5.
Next Game: West Bladen at East Bladen; Union at Midway
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