James Higgins ran for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns, and a late goal line stand carried the East Bladen jayvee football team to a 14-6 Four County Conference victory over Union Thursday night at East.
An onside kick by Pierce Melvin on the opening kick-off was recovered by the Eagles at midfield. On the third play from scrimmage, Higgins raced 32 yards to the Spartan 21 yardline.
On the next play, Higgins dashed 21 yards for the touchdown. Quarterback Quinton Bedsole ran the 2-point conversion to give the Eagles an early 8-0 lead.
Union scored on a 33 yard touchdown run on the fifth play of its first drive. The 2-point conversion failed and the Eagles led 8-6.
On their next possession, the Eagles mounted a nine play drive that was capped by a 13 yard touchdown run by Higgins. The 2-point conversion failed and the Eagles led 14-6 with 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The two teams traded possessions to end the first half with the Eagles leading 14-6. Both defenses were strong to start the third quarter, and the two teams traded possessions.
With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Spartans began a time-consuming 74-yard, 17-play drive. After picking up a first down at the Eagle 6 yard line, two more Union runs put the ball at the one. The Eagles threw the Spartans for a loss on third down and an illegal procedure penalty moved the ball back to the seven.
On fourth down, the Union quarterback scrambled and was sacked by Devonte McEver for an eight yard loss to complete the goal line stand and give the ball back to the Eagles. “The defense won the game for us tonight,” said Eagle Coach Ritchie Priest. “The goal line stand was incredible.”
Higgins carried the ball five times for the Eagles to run out the clock for the victory. “Higgins did a great job running the ball for us tonight,” said Coach Priest. The Eagles held a slim 187 to 179 edge in total yards for the game.
“Union is one of the most athletic teams we have played this year,” continued Coach Priest. “With some players out, we had some guys step up and play big time for us.”
“We had a lot of guys play both ways and we showed how tough we are tonight,” added Coach Priest. “I am really proud of this team as we head into a big game with West Bladen next week.”
The Eagles, now 8-1, will travel to West Bladen Thursday for a 6:30 game.
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