Eagles soar past Warriors
By WILLIE MCLAWHORN
LASKER – After digging a hole by allowing the Lawrence Warriors to score on the opening kickoff, the Northeast Academy Eagles rose to the occasion and came from behind to defeat the Warriors 52-28 here Friday.
The Warriors Trey Styons took the opening kickoff and returned it 81 yards for the opening score. Following the 2-point conversion, the Warriors had an 8-0 lead before fans were settled in.
Northeast was then forced to punt on their first series. The Warriors took over on their own six yard line, looking to drive the length of the field and open up a two-touchdown lead. But the Eagles had other plans. Two plays netted a loss of 5 yards including a sack of the quarterback by Bruce Sonnenberg. Then on third and fifteen, the Eagles swarmed all over the Warrior runner tackling him in the end-zone for a safety. Northeast head coach Stevie Flythe called that the turning point of the game.
Following a 30 yard return on the kickoff by the Eagles’ Luke Baker, NEA scored on a 3 play, 30 yard drive as junior Peyton Galloway rushes for the final 16 yards for the score giving the Eagles a lead they never relinquished.
The Warriors then drove to the Eagles’ 15 yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The Eagles then scored on the second play from scrimmage on an 80 yard jaunt by quarterback Matt Little at the 3:01 mark of the first quarter. Following a two point conversion on a juggling catch by Nathan Rowe in the corner of the end-zone, the Eagles held an 18-8 lead.
The Warriors then went 3 and out as Rowe intercepted the Warriors Jarrett Harrell’s pass on the Eagles’ 25 yard line. The Eagles then went on an 11 play drive culminating in a 23 yard run for a touchdown by Little. The Eagles’ lead was upped to 26-8 with 9:30 remaining in the first half.
The Warriors took the onside kick and following a penalty against Northeast, mounted a touchdown drive of their own. Harrell first hit Bryant Goodwin for 21 yards and then threw a strike to Styons for a 19 yard touchdown cutting the Northeast lead to 10 at 26-16 with 7:40 remaining in the half.
Northeast responded with a touchdown of their own, a 6 play 60 yard drive highlighted by a 29 yard pass completion from Little to Rowe and the 17 yard touchdown run by Little.
But the scoring for the half was not over. After a 15 yard pass play from Harrell to Goodwin, Rowe intercepted his second pass of the half and returned the ball 35 yards to the Lawrence 18. On the first play from scrimmage, Little scored his fourth touchdown of the half giving the Eagles a 38-16 lead at the half.
The second half began with another touchdown drive by Northeast. This time it was a 56 yard drive in 6 plays with the score coming on a 17 yard pass play from Little to Josh Byrd giving the Eagles a seemingly insurmountable 44-16 lead.
The Warriors attempted a comeback. But they had another drive stopped by an interception by Little at the Northeast 3 yard line. Following a punt by the Eagles, the Warriors moved 28 yards hitting pay-dirt on a 20 yard pass completion from Goodwin to Styons, cutting the Eagle lead to 44-22.
Following a Northeast fumble, the Warriors put together another drive reaching the Eagle 6 before a sack by Galloway on fourth down gave the ball back to the Eagles.
Another fumble by the Eagles led to the final Warrior score as Harrell hit Tyler Jones on a 32 yard touchdown pass. The score was 44-28 with 3:25 remaining in the game.
Northeast then recovered the onside kick and put the game away driving 60 yards in 5 plays as Cody Wells went over the goal line from 3 yards out.
After the game, Coach Flythe said he was proud of the way the boys responded after the opening kickoff. He said, “They scored and then forced us to punt. The boys never got down on themselves, and put up a good defensive stand scoring the safety.”
The Eagles defense got burned a couple of times in the passing game, but were stellar in the rushing defense allowing only 5 yards rushing on 18 carries. They also picked off 4 passes on the night.
Offensively for the Eagles, Little had 189 rushing yards on 11 attempts with 4 touchdowns. The Eagles will travel next to Hobgood while the Warriors will travel to Grace Christian.