04/15/2024
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By John Clark

ELIZABETHTOWN – Senior Masion Brooks rushed for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns, and East Bladen’s special teams keyed an early 21-point blitz that sparked the Eagles to a 49-0 non-conference football victory over West Bladen Friday night in the ‘Battle for the Bell’.

Senior Blaine Pope drilled an onside opening kick-off of a Knight, and senior Na’Toren Corbett recovered for East at the West 45 yard line. Brooks picked up 14 yards then galloped 36 yards for his 1st touchdown. Pope booted the extra point for a 7-0 East lead with 10:28 on the clock.

Pope’s 2nd onside kick was scooped up by senior Jamarius Smith at the West 45 again. After a holding penalty set the Eagles back, junior Xavier Allen scooted 23 yards. Brooks pounded the middle for 12 yards then plowed through the left side on a 23-yard TD run. Pope converted the kick, and East led 14-0 at the 7:48 mark.

“That’s part of what we do,” said Eagle Coach Robby Priest about the onside kicks. “We work on it every day in practice.”

Knight senior Jahmar Richardson recovered the 3rd East onside kick at the West 49. A facemask penalty moved the ball to the Eagle 36 yard line, but Smith recovered a Knight fumble at the East 30 yard line.

Senior Darius Williamson dashed 11 yards, before Brooks broke loose again on a 53-yard touchdown run. Pope connected on the conversion kick for a 21-0 lead with 3:41 left in the period.

Sophomore quarterback Hunter Hester completed 3 straight passes for 50 yards on the next West possession. Hester connected with junior Hezekiah Adams for gains of 9 and 26 yards, then hooked up with junior Elijah McCollum for a 15-yard gain to the East 6 yard line. On 4th down from the one, an 18-yard Knight field goal attempt was blocked by Brooks.

The Eagles responded with an 86-yard drive that consumed 10 plays. Williamson gained 11 yards. Corbett ran for 12 yards then caught a 10-yard pass from quarterback Kewone Maynor. Allen picked up 8 yards then circled left end for 24 more. Brooks added a 9-yard run, but Knight senior Aaron Lewis recovered an East fumble at the West 6 yard line.

Following a West punt, East covered 41 yards in 3 plays. Senior Matthew Kemp rambled 11 yards then scored the touchdown on a 27-yard run. The conversion kick was blocked by Adams and the Eagles led 27-0 at halftime.

Allen returned the 2nd half kickoff 41 yards to the East 46 yard line. Maynor hurled a 54-yard touchdown pass to Malaki Moore on the next play, then tossed a 2-point conversion pass to Brooks to push the lead to 35-0 with 11:41 on the clock.

Sophomore Dashon Campbell grabbed a 13-yard pass from Maynor to ignite a 42-yard Eagle scoring drive. Williamson sprinted 21 yards, before Corbett banged into the end zone from a yard out. Brooks bulled across the goal line for the 2-point conversion and a 43-0 lead at the 7:02 mark.

A 51-yard scoring drive in the final period capped the scoring. Williamson picked up 11 yards, and senior Jayden Daily rushed for 17 yards. Sophomore Keyshawn Kemp ran for 12 yards. before Daily darted 6 yards for the final TD.

“That’s how we are supposed to play,” said Priest. “Big improvement from last week. I liked the way our defense played. They were flying around to the ball out there.”

“We have to take charge of our own play over here, and not worry about what has happened in the past,” said Knight Coach Stanley Williams about the East winning streak (22 straight). “We have to learn that they just put their pants on 1 leg at a time just like we do.”

Williamson finished with 61 yards rushing on 6 carries. Allen rushed 6 times for 60 yards. Matthew Kemp carried 3 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. Maynor completed 3 of 4 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Moore had the 54-yard TD catch.

Hester connected on 7 of 18 passes for 82 yards and had 1 interception for West. Adams had 3 receptions for 45 yards. Junior Tyleak Ballard led the defense with 9 tackles. Richardson had 5 tackles. Lewis had 3 tackles and the fumble recovery. Adams had 3 tackles and the blocked extra point.

Both teams are now 1-1 on the season. East Bladen will travel to Wilmington Ashley Friday night. West Bladen will host West Columbus in their home opener Friday night.

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