Full game story: Fourth quarter hurts WSN at Bayside
BY HEATHER STONE
W.S. Neal suffered a hard-fought area loss on the road at Bayside Academy Friday night, falling 26-34 to the Admirals after maintaining a lead for the first three quarters of the game.
The Eagles racked up 391 yards of total offense against the Admirals. Bayside had 348 yards of total offense in the game, with 197 of those yards coming in the fourth quarter.
Bayside drew first blood, scoring quickly on their first possession with a 6-yard run by quarterback Hunter Slater. The PAT was good, putting the Admirals in the lead 7-0 with 8:47 on the clock in the first quarter. This would be the only time Bayside would lead until the fourth quarter.
The Eagles made their presence felt two minutes later, ending a 74-yard, 4-play drive with a 20-yard touchdown run by sophomore Quenton Samuels and a two-point conversion run by sophomore Malcolm Hawthorne. With 6:37 left in the first quarter, Neal took the lead 8-7.
After Bayside turned the ball over on downs to Neal on Neal’s 34-yard line, the Eagles managed to drive down the field, controlling the ball for about six minutes, gaining four first downs in the process, and finishing the drive with a six-yard touchdown run by Hawthorne. With 43 seconds left in the half, the Eagles increased their lead to 14-7, a lead they would take into the locker room.
The Eagle defense fought hard holding the Admirals to only 85 yards total offense and forcing two turnovers in the first half, while the Eagle offense was able to push for 176 yards of offense in the same half.
Bayside received the ball first in the third quarter but were unable to score, turning the ball over on downs to the Eagles on Neal’s 25-yard line. Two plays later, Hawthorne scrambled 71-yards for a touchdown, widening the Eagles’ lead to 20-7 with 8:32 left in the third quarter.
Both teams had the ball twice more in the third quarter, but neither was able to score.
With 11:42 on the clock on the fourth quarter, Bayside’s Greg Wallace had a 38-yard punt return for a touchdown. A good PAT closed the gap in the score to 20-14.
The Eagles were forced to punt on their next possession, giving the Admirals the ball on their own 45-yard line. A completed 55-yard touchdown pass from Slater to Dyas and a good PAT put Bayside ahead 21-20 for the first time since the first quarter with 9:23 left in the game.
Not giving up without a fight, the Eagles answered with a spectacular 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Hawthorne that had Eagle fans roaring in the stands. This put the Eagles back on top 26-21 with 9:07 in the fourth quarter.
Bayside had possession of the ball for the next three minutes, driving down the field and ending with a half-yard touchdown run. They attempted a two-point conversion that was not successful, but they went up by one point 27-26 with 6:15 on the clock.
After this touchdown, the Admirals executed an on-side kick that they were able to recover. This was one of the most critical plays of the game. Bayside was able to control the ball for another four minutes, preventing the Eagles from having the opportunity to score again. The Admirals also ended this possession with a one-yard touchdown run by Landon Lasseter and a good PAT increasing their lead to 34-26 with only 2:09 left to play. This would be the final score.
Coach Dough Hoehn was pleased with his team if not with the outcome of the game. “I’m proud of the effort they gave tonight. These kids play their hearts out. They do everything we ask them to do,” Hoehn said. “Both teams played very well tonight. Both teams played very hard, (and had) very few penalties. They’re a very good football team. We knew that coming in. They’re tough at home. I think toward the end of the game, it just came down to depth. They’ve got more depth than us. We have a lot more kids playing both ways. We have a lot of injuries, so we’re asking kids to stay on the field the whole game and not come out. I think that gave them a little bit of an edge toward the end of the game,” he added.
Despite playing with heart and making few mistakes all night, the Eagles were unable to overcome fatigue and injuries in the fourth quarter, falling to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in region play.
Hoehn said, “We’re going to put this one behind us. We’ve got a big game next week we’ve got to get ready for.”
W.S. Neal had 391 total yards of offense, all rushing, while Bayside had a total of 348 yards of offense: 201 rushing and 127 passing.
Hawthorne led the Eagle offense with 222 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 16 carries. Samuels racked up 163 yards rushing and one touchdown on 25 carries, and Zach Haveard carried the ball twice for six yards.
Neal will face Opp in Opp Friday night at 7 p.m.
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