Eastern Alamance’s varsity football team got a tuneup Friday night for what will be its biggest game of the year with its longest road trip of the season thus far. The Eagles traveled all the way up to Eden to face Mid-State Conference foe Morehead, and came away with a 42-6 triumph to improve to 9-0 on the year.
The outcome was never in doubt, as the Eagles scored 14 points each in both the first and second quarters for a commanding 28-0 halftime advantage.
The Eagles defense once again came to play, allowing only a late touchdown by Morehead after the visitors from Mebane had opened up a 42-0 third quarter lead, and a running clock had been instituted. It marked the fourth straight game in which the Eagles defense held its opponent to 14 or fewer points. Three of those games have been on the road.
Morehead got a scoring opportunity on the opening possession of the game, but a field goal attempt missed its mark. EAHS’s offense quickly seized the initiative, as quarterback Austin Bryant connected with fellow senior A.J. Camuto for a 40-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Eagles advantage. It was the first of three scoring passes for Bryant over the course of the evening.
The Eagles got a stop on defense, and subsequently marched downfield for another score and a 14-0 lead. Senior running back/defensive back Elijah Burnette got the honors, scoring from three yards out.
Colby May tallied Eastern’s third score of the night, as his 6-yard touchdown run made the score 21-0 in favor of the Eagles in the second quarter. May’s touchdown was set up by a pair of long strikes along the right sideline from Bryant to Camuto and Lanier Rice. Camuto’s long-gainer on a rollout pass from Bryant set the Eagles up inside the Morehead 10.
Kendall Montgomery completed EAHS’s first half scoring with a 31-yard touchdown strike from Bryant, which made the halftime score 28-0. On the scoring play, Montgomery caught a pass from Bryant in the left flats, and got some tremendous downfield blocking by EAHS offensive lineman Kendell Ruffin on his way to the end zone.
EAHS kept up the pressure in the third quarter, as a long pass down the right sideline connected with Darius Kane inside the Morehead 10, leading to a 5-yard scoring toss from Bryant to Rice and a 35-0 Eagles advantage.
Eastern’s final score of the evening came courtesy of its defense, as lineman Jordan Moore snared an attempted middle screen by Morehead, leaping up with two hands to bring down the ball, and then rambling 10 yards to the end zone for a 42-0 lead midway through the third period. Moore’s defensive touchdown brought out the running clock, and the Eagles liberally inserted their backup players to wind things down.
Morehead did get the game’s final score, converting a short swing pass from quarterback Jamal Dalton to running back D’Andre Richardson. Richardson’s 6-yard touchdown catch ended the night’s scoring, as a two-point conversion attempt failed, giving Eastern a 42-6 triumph.
With the win, Eastern improves to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in Mid-State Conference play, while Morehead falls to 3-6 overall, and 1-4 in league games. The Eagles got a gift Friday night in the form of Northeast Guilford’s 17-13 victory over Western Alamance. Eastern is now in first place all by itself in the Mid-State standings, with EAHS’s 5-0 mark ahead of both Western and Northeast Guilford, who are sitting at 4-1.
So it’s all come down to next Friday night for Eastern. If they can knock off Western Alamance, they will be positioned to win the Mid-State Conference regular season title outright for the first time since 2015. If the Eagles lose, there will be a three-way tie in the Mid-State standings, with the Eagles tied with both the Rams and the Warriors.
In that scenario, there will have to be a coin toss to determine the Mid-State Conference’s seeding in the upcoming NCHSAA state playoffs. Simply put, that is a scenario the Eagles do not want to deal with. But the Eagles control their own destiny at this point.
If they can head over to Elon and topple the Warriors, handing them their second loss in as many games, they will be set up not only for a conference title, but an extended run of home playoff games in the friendly confines of Fred Brady Stadium in the month of November.