Third time a charm for WSN with back-to-back victories
Published 3:08 pm Monday, October 9, 2006
By BY DANIEL HODGE – SPORTS WRITER
The third time was a charm for the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles.
The Blue Eagles, who alternated wins and losses through their first five games, came up short in their two previous attempts to win back-to-back games this season. They finally ended that streak and in a big way Friday when they spanked the host Monroe County Tigers 40-7.
The Blue Eagles' defense was stingy all night, as it allowed just one first down in the first half. Monroe County (2-4 overall and 1-3 in region play) was forced to punt seven times for the game and managed only 135 yards of total offense.
On the other side of the ball, W.S. Neal's offense did what it had to do in order to win.
The Blue Eagles established their domination quickly, as they went 58 yards on seven plays on their opening offensive series. With 6:51 left in the first quarter, Marquis Barksdale found Justin Howard for a 32-yard touchdown pass. Jamar Travis' extra point kick left extended W.S. Neal's lead to 7-0.
Special teams gave W.S. Neal a spark after a defensive stop when Justin Smith scooped up a punt and returned it 39 yards to the Tigers' 31-yard line.
While a holding infraction negated Nykeem Barton's first down run, the Blue Eagles made up for it and then some when Smith dashed around the left end for 37 yards and a touchdown. Travis extended the lead to 14-0 with the PAT with 5:17 left in the first quarter.
W.S. Neal's defense created a golden opportunity when Monroe County quarterback Byron Rivers was hit and fumbled the ball at the Tigers' seven-yard line where Bobby Freeman recovered for the Blue Eagles.
The Blue Eagles reached the endzone again two plays later when Barton crossed the goal line from five yards away. The extra point kick by Travis was no good and left the score 20-0 with 11:52 remaining in the first half.
Another defensive stop enabled W.S. Neal to also start its next series from inside Monroe County territory at the 45-yard line. Consecutive first down rushes of 16 yards by Barton and 10 yards by Barksdale moved the ball inside the 20-yard line. After a nine-yard gain the previous play, Barton ran in a touchdown from 11 yards out. A missed two-point conversion attempt kept W.S. Neal's lead 26-0 with 7:56 left until halftime.
Monroe County managed to gain its first first down of the game on the ensuing series on a pass from Rivers to Stephen Andrews, but that play was followed by three negative yardage plays that forced the Tigers into another punting situation.
Desperate to get anything going, Monroe County attempted an onside kick to start the second half, but W.S. Neal's Ryan Meier fell on the ball at midfield.
The Blue Eagles used two Barton rushes and three defensive penalties to move the ball to the 20-yard line. Three plays later Barksdale fired a 15-yard touchdown pass to Howard. Travis found his kicking touch again and booted the PAT to make it 33-0 with 7:03 left in the third quarter.
The Blue Eagles special teams followed that score with an onside kick recovery at the Monroe County 41-yard line.
It took W.S. Neal just five plays to cover that distance, as Barksdale capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 3:45 left in the third quarter. Travis' PAT kick extended the lead to 40-0.
The Tigers dented the scoreboard in the fourth quarter score when scored on a three-yard run. Austin Bohannon's extra point kick was good and accounted for the rest of the 40-7 margin.
The Blue Eagles host Hillcrest-Evergreen Friday at 7 p.m.