Eastern loses first game of 2023 season, 36-35, on two-point conversion
By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Williams took its first lead of the game on a two-point conversion with 1:29 remaining to knock off previously undefeated Eastern Alamance 36-35 on Friday night at Burlington Memorial Stadium.
The host Bulldogs opted to try for a go-ahead play after scoring their fifth touchdown. Dan Mahan’s pass to Haneef Rasheed II worked for a successful conversion in the Central 3-A Conference game on homecoming.
“We were confident in our offense and our offensive line,” Williams coach Patrick Stokes said of the decision. “We liked the momentum we had.”
[Story continues below photo of coach Patrick Stokes talking with team after the victory.]
A long touchdown drive preceded the go-ahead play.
Williams (5-2 overall, 2-1 Central 3-A Conference) handed Eastern (5-1, 1-1) its first conference loss in three seasons.
Mahan threw for four touchdowns, racking up 295 passing yards to go with 36 yards on the ground.
“Offense scored when they had to,” Stokes said. “Like one of our assistant coaches said, when things went awry, our kids buckled down. … It’s an affirmation of the hard work our kids have put into it.”
After the Bulldogs went ahead, Charlie Smith’s interception help prevent an Eastern comeback. The Eagles had one final possession, but not much time to do much with that.
Stokes, a former Eastern assistant coach, had been 0-3 against his ex-team. The Eagles won twice last year in overtime games in Mebane.
“2023 is a new season,” Stokes said. “This is a new team, a new season.”
The Eagles drove 99 yards for their first touchdown, ending on Jason Ball’s 25-yards scoring pass to Taraji Rogers. It was 14-0 after Josh Murray ran for a touchdown.
But an interception helped Williams get in position for a second-quarter touchdown.
Ball threw to Trynton Wiley as the Eagles rebuilt their lead before the Bulldogs responded on Mahan’s touchdown throw.
Amarion Richmond scored a Williams touchdown to help tie the game at 21-21. A Tyrek Samuel touchdown run late in the third quarter put the Eagles back on top.
When Ball connected with Dalton Helton, Eastern held a 35-28 edge with about seven minutes left.
Southern Alamance 36, Roxboro Person 29
At Roxboro, Josiah Tysinger scored on a 23-yard run with 59 seconds left as the visiting Patriots recovered after a 29-0 lead vanished in the Central 3-A Conference game.
Southern (6-1, 3-0) scored the first points of the fourth quarter on Landon Dodson’s 18-yard pass to Tyler Moore with less than 11 minutes remaining.
By then, Southern standout Logan Foust was out with an injury.
Roxboro Person (4-2, 1-1) posted the next 29 points in less than a six-minute span. Twice, the Rockets scored on defense off Southern turnovers and also benefited from recovering an onside kick. The game was tied with 4:55 remaining.
Both teams had another possession before Southern’s 62-yard, game-winning drive.
Southern scored in the first quarter on Dodson’s 13-yard pass to Jackson Parrish. Dodson connected with Foust for a 28-yard scoring play in the second quarter. Parrish added a 35-yard touchdown run in the third quarter as part of his 145-yard rushing night on 21 carries.
Foust gained 70 yards on 19 attempts. Dodson was 4-for-5 for 65 yards in the air.
Graham 26, Chatham Central 14
At Bear Creek, the visiting Red Devils picked up their first victory of the season in the Mid-Carolina Conference game.
The Red Devils (1-4, 1-2), who had scored only one touchdown all season entering the game, defeated the Bears for the second year in a row.
Chatham Central fell to 0-7, 0-5.
Southeast Alamance 54, Jordan-Matthews 3
At Siler City, the visiting Stallions have won back-to-back games for the first time as the first-year team rolled in the Mid-Carolina Conference game.
The Stallions (3-3, 3-1) led 26-3 at halftime and they racked up 21 third-quarter points.
Jordan-Matthews fell to 1-6, 1-4.
Western and Cummings were off on Friday night.