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Football: East Bladen 41, Fairmont 38

ELIZABETHTOWN – Junior RaSean McKoy rushed for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead East Bladen to a 41-38 Three Rivers Conference football victory over Fairmont on Friday night.

“RaSean’s had a really good year,” said Eagle Coach Robby Priest. “He is on a lot of people’s radar. The O-line did a great job, and the other backs blocked for him.”

The Eagles piled up 491 yards rushing and 5i5 total yards compared to the Tornadoes who rushed for 112 yards and passed for 119 yards for a total of 231 yards. However a couple of East Bladen fumbles and over 200 yards of return yardage kept Fairmont in the game.

East Bladen took the opening kick-off and consumed 6:05 off the clock during a 77-yard, 13 play drive. McKoy dove into the end zone from a yard out, and senior Gabe Barber booted the extra point. Junior Lawson Hester dashed 20 yards to highlight the drive, and senior Kasey Price carried several tacklers along for a 16-yard gain.

The Tornadoes answered with a 54-yard, 8-play drive. Senior Tyler Locklear ignited the drive with an 18-yard pass to Cameron Harrington, then tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Savonte McKeithan. Harrington plowed into the end zone for the 2-point conversion and an 8-7 lead.

East Bladen covered 73 yards in 4 plays to retake the lead. McKoy reeled off runs of 11 and 24 yards, and Price bulled 10 yards, before Lawson Hester bolted 28 yards for a touchdown. Barber added the point for a 14-8 Eagle lead at the 1:33 mark.

A 22-yard burst by McKoy on the final play of the first period began a 45-yard Eagle march that reached the Fairmont 6 yard line. However Tornado junior Kadeem Leonard scooped up an East fumble and scampered 84 yards for a touchdown. Sophmore Derrick Baker ran for the 2-point conversion for a 16-14 lead.

“We had the chance to go up by two scores, but shot our self in the foot, said Priest. “I told the team at halftime that we just need to stay out of our own way.”

After the fumble return TD, Eagle senior ZaQuis Leach charged straight up the middle and returned the kick-off 55 yards. A horse collar penalty added 15 yards to the return. Two plays later Price powered through the left side on a 14-yard touchdown run. Barber’s kick put East on top 21-16.

Fairmont’s Shykeem Smith returned the Eagle kick-off 63 yards to the East Bladen 32. Five plays later Baker scored on a 5-yard run, and Locklear flipped a conversion pass to Harrington for a 24-21 Fairmont lead 4:36 before halftime.

The Eagles ground out a 69-yard drive in 14 plays. A 10-yard McKoy run and a 14-yard gain by Lawson Hester on a fake punt play kept the Eagles moving, but Barber’s 24-yard field goal attempt barely missed to the right.

Baker sprinted 44 yards to the Eagle 24 yard line with the second-half kick-off, but a holding penalty stalled the drive and East Bladen took over on downs at the 34.

The Eagles need ten plays to drive 66 yards and regain the lead. McKoy bolted 30 yards to start the march. Leach bulled into the end zone from a yard out for the touchdown and a 27-24 East Bladen lead with 4:03 left in the period.

After an exchange of punts, a 24-yard run by Jahkeem Moore put the Tornadoes on the Eagle 21 yard line. East Bladen senior Zac Hester nailed Baker and forced a fumble that resulted in a 5-yard loss as the Eagles took over on downs at the 18.

Priest gambled on 4th-and-one at the Eagle 27, and McKoy lunged for 2 yards and the first down. Two plays later Leach broke loose on the counterplay and galloped 65 yards to pay dirt. Senior quarterback Tayshaun Berkeley circled right end for the 2-point conversion and a 35-24 lead with 6:16 on the clock.

A 37-yard pass from Locklear to Moore sparked a Tornado scoring drive. Locklear threw an 11-yard TD pass to Jaylen Brown to close the gap to 35-30 at the 4:33 mark.

Two plays later McKoy broke through the right side and sped 68 yards for an Eagle touchdown that padded the lead to 41-30 with 4:05 left.

Back came Fairmont with a 50-yard scoring drive. Locklear tossed passes of 14 and 12 yards to Moore, before Baker ran 9 yards for the touchdown. Harrington tacked on the 2-point run to whittle the lead to 41-38 with 2:49 remaining.

Sophmore Raymond Autry snatched the Fairmont onside kick out of the air, but Fairmont recovered a Leach fumble 3 plays later. On the next play, Lawson Hester intercepted a Locklear pass with 1:55 left to seal the verdict.

“ZaQuis needs to buy Lawson’s supper,” chuckled Priest. “Lawson bailed him out with that interception.” Lawson Hester finished with 88 yards rushing on 12 carries. Leach racked up 82 yards on 9 rushes, and Price ran 10 times for 54 yards.

“Kasey had a great game on both sides of the ball tonight,” said Coach Priest. “He blocked his butt off and had some big hits on defense. He is just fun to watch.”

“I liked the way we fought tonight,” continued Priest. “We just kept battling. Sure I would like to win 50-0, but you can learn a lot about your team in a game like this.”

Locklear completed 9 of 20 passes for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead Fairmont. Moore ran for 57 yards and caught 5 passes for 66 yards. Baker rushed for 61 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Eagles improved to 3-2 in the TRC and 3-4 overall. East Bladen will travel to St. Pauls on Friday night.

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