Eastern Alamance’s junior varsity football team continued its winning ways Thursday night by returning home to Fred Brady Stadium and shutting out visiting Person, 41-0. The win improved Eastern’s record to 5-0 overall, and 2-0 in Mid-State Conference play.
Although it wasn’t much of a surprise to see the Eastern offense scoring points and being explosive, one of the most pleasant surprises of the win over the Rockets was the play of the EAHS defense. Along with pitching their second shutout of the 2019 season, the Eagles held Person to only 17 rushing yards and 81 passing yards, while forcing five turnovers.
“The defense showed much improvement,” Eastern head coach Patrick Stokes said after the game. “The defensive line and linebackers shut down the (Rockets) running game, and put pressure on their quarterback, resulting in interceptions. Our kickoff coverage was also much improved.”
The Eagles settled the issue impressively over the game’s first two quarters, as the home squad built a commanding 34-0 halftime lead. Quarterback Kasen McCawley continued his excellent play to start the season by throwing for 150 yards with three touchdown passes, while rushing for another 96 yards and producing a rushing score.
McCawley continued to disperse the ball around to several wide receivers, with Hunter Westbrooks leading the way with 49 receiving yards and a touchdown. Triston Keck and Ce’Darion Williams also scored receiving touchdowns for the Eagles, with each recording 36 yards through the air. Running back Adrian Sykes added 42 rushing yards.
Eastern’s offensive line continued to be a dominant force up front, working together to help the EAHS offense produce 366 yards before calling off the dogs in the second half. Freshman backup Cole McGinnis got some work late in the game at quarterback in place of McCawley, rushing for 37 yards while adding 20 yards passing.
EAHS got on the scoreboard first in the opening five minutes when McCawley nailed Keck with a 10-yard touchdown pass for an early 6-0 lead. McCawley added a two-point conversion for an 8-0 Eagles advantage. After forcing a Person punt, the Eagles went on the march again, leading up to a 5-yard touchdown pass from McCawley to Williams. This time, however, the Eagles were unsuccessful in their conversion attempt.
Leading 14-0 heading into the second quarter, Eastern forced another Person punt, and McCawley hit Westbrooks with a 26-yard scoring strike for a 20-0 Eagles lead. Although the extra point was missed, Eastern was well on its way to another lopsided win.
Person was once again forced to quickly punt the ball away to Eastern, leading up to a Sykes touchdown and a 27-0 Eagles lead. EAHS finished out the first half with a 32-yard touchdown on a quarterback keeper by McCawley, which made the count 34-0 at the half. It was a fortunate situation for the Eagles coaches, who got to liberally insert backups into the game over the final two quarters.
“The substitutes got to play for the majority of the second half in an effort to continue to build experience with our younger players,” Stokes explained.
Dontrell Lee concluded the scoring for the Eagles in the third quarter, coming through with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown to finish things off. Lee’s pick six was one of four interceptions the EAHS defense recorded in the game, as J.J. Rigsbee, Antoine Pugh, Gage Parsons, all got in on the action. Linebacker Ivan Benitez recovered a fumble for Eastern’s fifth takeaway of the night. In addition, Kedrick Rogers came through with a fumble recovery on a kickoff to help the Eagles maintain possession.
The Eagles, who are now 2-0 in conference play, will remain home in Mebane next Thursday night for another home league game, this one with Northern Guilford.