Eastern Alamance picks up first shutout of 2021 fall season over Person County

Eastern Alamance defensive starters Payton Wright (No. 10), Javontae Poteat (No. 52) and Jake Libbey (No. 42) swarm around Person County running back Daveon Marner (No. 5) during Friday night's Central Conference clash in Roxboro. The Eagles broke out to a 21-0 lead after one quarter of play, and took a commanding 35-0 lead into halftime. Following one additional touchdown in the third quarter, the Eagles slowed down and cruised to a 41-0 shutout triumph. The 5-1 Eagles are two victories away from a Central Conference regular season title and a high seeding in the upcoming state playoffs. 

Following a week off due to the cancellation of its previously-scheduled October 8 home game with 2A powerhouse Reidsville High, Eastern Alamance’s varsity football team returned to action this past Friday night. The Eagles traveled to Roxboro and took no prisoners in a 41-0 demolition of Central Conference rival Person County. The Eagles broke out to a commanding 21-0 cushion through just one quarter of play, and cruised in the second half on their way to their fifth straight win, and third straight in league play. 

The Eagles wasted little time asserting itself against the overmatched Rockets, parlaying a three-and-out on the game’s first defensive possession into a 44-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Douglas to Devin Clark. From there, the Eagles got another defensive stop, forcing a punt, and went on the march, culminating in a touchdown reception by Antoine Pugh and a 14-0 lead midway through the opening period. 

Eastern’s third score of the first quarter came courtesy of its defense, as senior safety Kedrick Rogers stepped in front of a Person County pass and raced 31 yards to the end zone. The Eagles took a 21-0 advantage into the second quarter. 

Following yet another stop by the fired-up EAHS defense Douglas got the Eagles rolling early in the second quarter with a 1-yard touchdown sneak, and the visitors from Mebane had a commanding 28-0 cushion. Douglas finished the evening 8-of-10 passing for 185 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. 

Although the second quarter wasn’t nearly as explosive for the Eagles as their high-octane opening quarter, the Eagles added another touchdown before halftime, as sophomore running back Joshua Murray raced in from 11 yards out with just over a minute remaining prior to the intermission. Murray’s touchdown and the ensuing extra point gave EAHS a 35-0 halftime lead. 

The Eagles received the second half kickoff and the result was the same - a Joshua Murray touchdown. It would turn out to be Eastern’s final score of the evening, as the Eagles called off the dogs after taking a 41-0 lead early in the third quarter. Murray finished the evening with 12 carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns. 

Douglas’s big night through the air was aided by numerous big plays by the Eastern High receiving corps. Senior Kasen McCawley had a 51-yard catch to set up one score, while fellow senior Hunter Westbrooks added a 44-yard catch on his way to 48 receiving yards on the evening. McCawley added two punt returns of 21 and 20 yards, respectively. Clark finished the game with two catches for 61 yards. As a team, the Eagles only had eight receptions, but three were for 40 or more yards, and four were for 20 or more yards. EAHS could have done significantly more offensively had they not backed off with such a commanding second half lead. 

Along with the big plays through the air by the Eagles receivers, the big story of the game was Eastern Alamance’s strong defensive effort. EAHS had many defensive heroes in its first shutout of the season, including Rogers, whose 31-yard interception return from a touchdown helped turn the game into a blowout. Senior linebacker Joey Teixeira led the way with 14 total tackles (six solo, eight assisted), along with two tackles for loss, while fellow twelfth grader Will Burnette also was in double digits in tackles with 13 (seven solo, six assisted). Teixeira also averaged 41 yards on five punts, consistently keeping Person pinned back on its own side of the field. 

Seven other Eagles had at least six or more tackles, including senior Jake Libbey and sophomore Payton Wright, who had nine tackles apiece, senior Adrian Sykes and sophomore Javontae Poteat, who had eight tackles each, senior Jamar Burton, who had seven tackles, and defensive backs Kasen McCawley and Gabriel Ocampo, who each had six tackles. Sykes added an 11-yard sack and tackle for loss, while Stallings had a 12-yard sack. The Eagles defense swarmed all over the field all evening, thwarting any realistic Person scoring attempt. 

Eastern Alamance now sits at a perfect 3-0 in Central Conference play with just two regular season games remaining. The Eagles will host Northwood on Friday night at Fred Brady Stadium with the conference championship on the line. The Chargers head to Mebane for their first Central Conference matchup with Eastern Alamance holding a 4-3 overall record, and a 2-1 mark in league play. While the Chargers suffered a 34-7 setback to Williams back in September, they have won back-to-back conference games against Person and Orange. 

If the Eagles can beat Northwood, they will have effectively sewn up the Central Conference title heading into the regular season finale at Orange on October 29. With a victory over the Chargers, EAHS will have key tiebreakers against both Northwood and Williams, their top two competitors in the league standings. A win over Orange would give Eastern a final regular season record of 7-1, and a regular season conference title, which will likely lead to a favorable playoff seeding and multiple NCHSAA 3A state playoff games in Mebane come November.