TABOR CITY — A dominant running game led by an experienced offensive line combined with an opportunistic defense that forced five turnovers put East Bladen in the win column Friday night.
Masion Brooks ran for 213 yards and scored three touchdowns and Darius Williams had a 71-yard scoring run and 144 rushing yards as the Eagles defeated South Columbus 35-14 in a nonconference high school football game at Civitan Field.
The victory came a week after the Eagles were whipped 61-7 at Wallace-Rose Hill.
“It’s better than what was shown last week,” East Bladen head coach Robby Priest said. “We responded well.
“We had some penalties and turnovers early. It was ugly, but we were able to get it right a couple of times and get some points.”
The East Bladen defense held the Stallions to 228 yards rushing and contained the speedy South Columbus runners. Domnick Johnson led South Columbus with 92 yards rushing. Last week against West Bladen, the Stallions ran for 418 yards on 43 carries.
“That was a big emphasis this week,” Priest said. “It’s hard for us to simulate their speed in practice. At times they hurt us with their speed early. I thought we made the adjustment once we saw it.”
Brooks scored on runs of 35 yards and 1 yard in the second quarter, then added another 35 yard touchdown in the fourth on a run that saw him lose a shoe as he neared the goal line. Williams’ long TD run came midway through the third quarter and gave the Eagles a 21-7 lead.
South Columbus pulled within a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. Demonta Gore crossed the goal line from the 2 for his second score of the game that made it 21-14.
East Bladen needed only nine seconds to answer following the kickoff when Brooks scored his final touchdown. Jordan Mathis’ 2-point conversion run gave the Eagles a 29-14 edge.
Mathis capped the scoring with a 5-yard run with 2:51 remaining.
East Bladen finished with 392 yards rushing on 44 attempts for an 8.9 yards per carry average. Brooks and Williams each averaged better than 11 yards per carry.
The East Bladen offensive line of Rodney Lacewell, Jaden Pridgen, Britt Sasser, Elijah Cain, Aniyaes Bethea and Alex Post gave the runners plenty of room to operate..
Defensively, Malakhi Moore intercepted two passes and had another negated by a roughing the passer penalty. Zamar Lewis also intercepted a pass. East Bladen recovered three South Columbus fumbles.
The teams each lost two fumbles during a scoreless first quarter.
South Columbus scored two minutes into the second quarter on Gore’s 3-yard run that ended an 11-play, 97-yard drive. The drive was set up when East Bladen fumbled near the goal line.
Brooks’ two TD runs in the second quarter gave the Eagles the lead for good.
East Bladen (1-1) will host Whiteville (1-1) on Friday at Lenon Fisher Stadium.
East Bladen 0-14-7-14—35
South Columbus 0- 7-0- 7—14
SC — Demonta Gore 3 run (Pablo Castrejon kick)
EB — Masion Brooks 35 run (kick failed)
EB — Brooks 1 run (Kewane Maynor run)
EB — Darius Williams 71 yard (Blaine Pope kick)
SC — Gore 2 run (Castrejon kick)
EB — Brooks 35 run (Jordan Mathis run)
EB — Mathis 5 run (kick failed)