Midway falls to East Bladen in conference opener

By Daron Barefoot - Sports Writer

Colby Pope looks to cut up field after catching a pass.

A host of Raiders including Landon Dorman and Carsse Lucas bring down an East Bladen runner.

The Midway Raiders were back in action on Friday as they traveled to Elizabethtown to play East Bladen and kick off Four County Conference action. After having a week off, Midway was hoping to get a win over the Eagles to start conference action on a high note, but, East Bladen had other plans. The Eagles were unstoppable on offense — and just as tough on defense — cruising past Midway, 42-0.

The action got started with 7:34 remaining in the first quarter. After a failed fake punt attempt by the Raiders, East Bladen was set up with short field position at their own 47-yard line for a drive that was capped off by a 35-yard touchdown run. After the successful PAT, the Eagles were up 7-0.

The ensuing Raider drive ended with another three-and-out, giving East Bladen an opportunity to add to their lead. Midway’s Shaquille Bailey, however, recovered an Eagles fumble to end the threat and set Midway up at midfield.

Trailing 7-0 as the second quarter was getting underway, the Raiders were unable to take advantage of the opportunity, suffering yet another three-and-out to give the ball right back to the Eagles.

After setting up on their own 15-yard line, the Eagles strung together a drive that consumed most of the second quarter and featured multiple fourth down conversions. With 5:25 left in the first half, East Bladen tacks on another score on a 45-yard fourth down touchdown pass. After the successful PAT, the Eagles were up 14-0.

The Raiders finally found some success in moving the ball as the Raiders opened the ensuing drive on their own 40-yard line and were able to move the ball into East Bladen territory after a nice pass from Austin Raynor to Colby Pope. However, the drive stalled as Midway was unable to convert fourth-and-short on the Eagles 34-yard line.

East Bladen added to their lead just before the half, capping off a 66-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with just under a minute remaining to make it 21-0 at halftime.

In the second half, the Midway defense took the field on a mission, forcing an early East Bladen timeout after the Eagles were faced with third-and-25. Out of the timeout, the Eagles had a big running play called back due to holding, forcing third-and-33. On the next play, a deep pass was picked off by Midway’s Carsse Lucas and returned the Raider 45.

Suddenly, Midway was in business, as the Raiders marched down field to the Eagles 25-yard line. However, the game took a dramatic turn on a controversial call. Midway’s running back Sha’King Warren had just carried the ball for a solid run when he had the ball snatched from him by an Eagles defender, who then returned the ball 75 yards for the score. While the play was ongoing, a flag was thrown in the area of the takeaway. The call, which was never explained, went against East Bladen, but the score stood, giving East Bladen a commanding 28-0 lead with 6:53 remaining in the third quarter.

Any Midway momentum was suddenly gone as the Raiders struggled the rest of the way on both side of the ball. East Bladen would add two more scores to bring the score to 42-0 and bring out the running clock to end the game.

After the game, Raiders head coach Jason Fussell was disappointed with the way things transpired.

“We had some things not go our way tonight but at the same time we weren’t able to capitalize when we had our chances,” he said.

Midway’s offense was held to just 81 yards of total offense on the night — 35 rushing and 46 passing.

With the loss, Midway falls to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference. The Raiders will try again next week to get back into the win column when they travel to take on Pender.

Colby Pope looks to cut up field after catching a pass.
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_Colby-Pope-MHS.jpgColby Pope looks to cut up field after catching a pass.

A host of Raiders including Landon Dorman and Carsse Lucas bring down an East Bladen runner.
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_Landon-Dorman-and-Carsse-Lucas.jpgA host of Raiders including Landon Dorman and Carsse Lucas bring down an East Bladen runner.

By Daron Barefoot

Sports Writer

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