Turnovers, big plays plague Eagles

Published 12:27 am Saturday, October 6, 2012

LASKER –Northeast Academy indeed remained winless on the 8-man football season here Friday night, but the Eagles refused to slip quietly into a foggy homecoming night.

Despite committing a bushel basket full of turnovers that aided Hobgood in building a 50-14 cushion after three complete periods of play, the Eagles won the final 12 minutes of action, outscoring their guests 14-0 and giving the NEA fans something to smile about during their trip home.

Those same fans did have another chance to cheer wildly in the early going. After spotting the visiting Raiders a 7-0 lead thanks to Hobgood speedster T.J. Mullins returning the game’s opening kickoff for a touchdown, Northeast answered with a bit of old-fashioned “smash mouth” football.

Taking over at their own 42 yardline after the ensuing kick-off, the Eagles launched a seven play drive, using the rugged running of Bo Daniels and Christian Fleetwood along with the fleet feet of Adam Creech to reach the Raiders three yardline. Daniels bulled his way to paydirt from there and coupled with Creech’s two-point conversion run, Northeast had an 8-7 lead at the halfway point of the first quarter.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the turnover bug bit, starting with an interception that Hobgood used to set-up a six play drive capped by Mullins’ 13-yard TD run and then a quick fumble recovery on the ensuing kick-off that Mullins took advantage of on his team’s first down snap to streak 43 yards to paydirt. In a span of only 14 seconds, Hobgood had built a 20-8 lead.

Mullins, who finished with 211 rushing yards on just eight carries, scored on a 57-yard gallop in the second quarter. That along with a 37-yard dash to paydirt by Dwayne Marshall aided the Raiders in building a 34-8 halftime lead.

The elusiveness of Mullins was evident on the first and only time he touched the ball in the second half, dodging the grasp of seemingly every NEA defender en route to a 77 yard TD run at the 6:27 mark of the third quarter that staked Hobgood to a 42-8 lead.

But the “no quit” attitude of Northeast came through on the game’s next series – a heavy dose of Daniels who toted the pigskin six times on an eight-play, 65-yard drive capped by his nine-yard TD run.

The visitors added one more touchdown on the last play of the period to stretch their lead to 50-14 entering the fourth quarter.

That last 12 minutes belonged to the Eagles. They first capitalized on a failed, fourth down pass on a bad punt attempt by the Raiders at their own 10 yardline. Creech made quick work on that short drive, darting in from 10 yards out on first down with Fleetwood adding the conversion run.

Then, thanks to a fumble recovery by nose guard Thomas Ellison, the Eagles used a big pass covering 29 yards from Fleetwood to Caleb Topping to set the table for a 16-yard TD run by Creech that accounted for the 50-28 finale.

The Eagles amassed 245 yards of total offense with Daniels (20 carries for 91 rushing yards), Fleetwood (62 passing yards) and Creech (16 attempts for 49 yards on the ground) leading the effort.

Hobgood finished the night with 368 yards of total offense.

Northeast (0-7) will travel to long-time rival Halifax Academy next Friday (Oct. 12).

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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