Prep Football: Eagles win wild one at Salisbury
How do two teams remedy a boring and uneventful third quarter? With a frantic and bizarre fourth quarter, of course.
In a game that featured muffed punts, a tip drill touchdown, an onside kick recovery and a crucial blocked extra point, East Davidson outscored the Hornets by one after being tied at halftime, surviving for a 33-32 Central Carolina Conference victory Friday at Ludwig Stadium. There were 25 points scored in the final period, and the sequence they were scored in will be talked about for a long time. Even East head coach Vance Hanner was at a loss for words as to what exactly had taken place.
“I cannot remember the last time I saw a game like this,” said the first-year head coach. “Tonight we just found a way. We have not beaten those guys since 2003. They may be 0-7 now, but that is not an 0-7 football team.”
Tied at 20 apiece after three quarters, Salisbury took a 3-point lead on Stephen Mazur's field goal of 30 yards a minute into the fourth.
The Hornets threatened to build on their advantage by picking off a pass and marching down to the East 4. The defense held as Nathan Campbell scooped up a Riley Myers fumble for a crucial turnover.
On the second play of the next drive, Austin Wallace hooked up with Michael Ramos for a third time on the night for a 87-yard touchdown. The extra point was foiled by a botched snap, keeping it a 3-point game with half a quarter to go.
Another Mazur field goal tied the score, leaving the Golden Eagles 2:45 to make a winning drive.
On third down at the 36, Wallace tried to find Ramos down the field again. The pass was tipped into the air as both Ramos and the defender fell to the ground. Finding himself at the right place at the right time, Nick Bolen picked the ball out of the air and rushed to the end zone. That gave East a lead of seven with under two minutes left.
“I wasn't thinking about anything,” said Bolen. “I just picked it up and ran it for a touchdown.”
East was not in the clear quite yet.
Salisbury's Dante Gaston returned the kickoff to the East 9. One play later Tim Rhodes took the inside handoff and danced into the end zone. All that was left to tie was an extra point. The ball never made it through the upright. East's defense got good penetration and batted the attempt down.
Game over, right? Not yet.
Salisbury recovered the onside kick and made it down to the ED 30. With plenty of time left, instead of going for it on fourth-and-6, Salisbury elected to go for a 47-yard field goal. A bad snap made Mazur hesitate on his approach for a split second, throwing off his momentum as the ball fell well short.
It was finally safe for East to celebrate.
“As far as execution and mistakes, this was our worst game of the year and credit Salisbury for that,” said Hanner. “They were forcing the issue and on offense nothing was working. Chuck it down to Ramos and see what happens was the extent of it. But again, time and time again our defense was there when we needed them.”
East, 1-0 in the league and 6-1 overall, hosts Thomasville next Friday for Homecoming.
Notes: Wallace tossed for 310 yards and four touchdowns … Ramos caught three balls for 139 yards and the three scores … Salisbury (0-1) got 251 yards passing from Myers … Tyler Rhodes pounced on a fumble in the end zone for East's first score.