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NCHSAA Class 2A Football Play-offs: Southwest Onslow (10-3) at East Bladen (12-1)

ELIZABETHTOWN – Old play-off nemesis Southwest Onslow comes to Lenon Fisher Stadium Friday night when East Bladen’s Eagles host the third round of the 2017 NCHSAA Class 2A Football Play-offs.

Twice Eagle play-off runs have ended at Southwest. In 2013 the Eagles drove down the field in the final minute and were going in for the winning touchdown when a fumble at the goalline resulted in a touchback and preserved a 27-24 Southwest victory.

Ten years earlier East Bladen had the lead and intercepted a Stallion pass at the goalline for what appeared to be a touchback. However the officials awarded Southwest Onslow a safety and the Stallions rallied for a touchdown and a 23-17 victory.

But this season the Stallions have to travel to East Bladen for the first time ever, and the Eagles are coming off maybe their best game of the season – a 68-28 rout of Greene Central.

Senior Xavier Wooten rushed for 309 yards and 6 touchdowns as the Eagles piled up 557 yards rushing and 640 yards of total offense against Greene Central. Wooten has now rushed for 1,833 yards and 29 touchdowns this season.

Junior Eric Chancy ran for 175 yards and a touchdown in Friday’s win and now has 792 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Eagles have now won 9 straight games since their 14-13 loss to South Columbus and have outscored opponents by a 38-16 margin. The East Bladen offense averages 335 yards rushing and 375 yards of total offense per game.

Senior quarterback Quinton Bedsole threw touchdown passes of 51 yards to senior Sincere Smith and 15 yards to sophmore Tayshaun Berkeley in the win over Greene Central. Bedsole has thrown for 363 yards and 4 touchdowns on the season. Smith has caught a team-high 11 passes for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Senior Adonis Avery intercepted a pass and recovered an onside kick in Friday’s win. Among the other Eagle defensive leaders are senior Lakeyed Lesane, Davonta McIver, Caleb Strait, Xavia McDowell and Smith.

The Stallions from Jacksonville were undefeated in Coastal 8 Conference play, and their only losses were to No. 1 Class 2AA seed East Duplin 31-7, No. 5 Class 2A seed Wallace-Rose Hill 48-7 and No. 5 Class 3-A seed Jacksonville 30-0.

Southwest Onslow has outscored their opponents by a 40-16 margin. The Stallions Winged-T attack has rushed for 379 yards per game and averages 415 total yards per game.

Senior running back Jakoby Johnson leads the Southwest attack with 1,667 yards and 21 touchdowns rushing. Senior back Josh Soliz has rushed for 1,144 yards and 17 touchdowns, and senior fullback Caleb Mahone adds 1,125 rushing and 12 touchdowns.

Junior quarterback Dharyus Thomas has thrown for 449 yards and 8 touchdowns. Johnson is the leading receiver with 6 catches for 179 yards.

Clearing the way for the Stallions is a huge offensive line anchored by Oklahoma commit Derek Green, a 6-5, 294-pound tackle. Six-four, 295-pound Colby Rouse mans the other tackle. Guards are 260-pounders Jerome Williams and Joe Ape. Center is 213-pound senior Ben Simma.

Defensive leaders include Green, defensive ends Matt Barkes and D’Angelo McKinnie and linebackers Soliz and Johnson.

Junior Ethan Barbee has connected on 51 of 54 conversion kicks for the Stallions, while Eagle junior Pierce Melvin has converted 54 of 63 extra point kicks.

Gametime Friday night will be 7:30.

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