BURGAW –East Bladen got its second straight stellar performance from its defense and a big night from Ethan Hines on offense to hand Pender County a 41-3 Four County Conference loss on Thursday.
The victory improves the Eagles to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference. The Patriots fall to 3-4, 1-2.
Hines put east Bladen on the board midway through the first quarter with a 16-yard run and Pierce Melvin booted the PAT 6:12 into the game.
neither team threatened again until early in the second stanza when the Eagles capped off a drive with a 9-yard touchdown run by Hines. Melvin’s kick tacked on the extra point and East Bladen led 14-0 with 8:45 left in the first half.
On the Eagles’ next possession, East Bladen went to the air to score again — this one coming on an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Quinton Bedsole to Hines on a third-and-7 with 2:45 left in the half. Melvin kicked the point after to give the Eagles a 21-0 lead.
But East Bladen wasn’t done.
After stopping Pender County on a three-and-out, the Eagles took over and Hines found daylight for a 33-yard touchdown run. The PAT was no good, but East Bladen took a 27-0 advantage with 1:09 left in the second quarter.
The Patriots managed to avert the shutout by marching to the Eagles’ 16 and booting a 34-yard field goal less than 30 seconds before halftime to cut the deficit to 27-3.
East Bladen’s defense kept Pender off the scoreboard through the second half, while the offense continued to click.
Xavier Wooten got into the books with a 12-yard touchdown run on the Eagles first possession of the half and Melvin’s extra point put East Bladen up 34-3.
On the Eagles next possession, Eian Hines joined his twin brother with a touchdown run of 16 yards with 4:23 left in the third quarter. Melvin kicked the point after and put East Bladen up by a 41-3 score.
With East Bladen coach Robby Priest substituting freely in the fourth quarter, neither team found the end zone again.
Ethan Hines led the Eagles ground game with 173 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. As a team, East Bladen gained 353 yards on the ground, with Wooten contributing 77 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries; James Higgins picking up 49 yards on eight carries; and Eian Hines gaining getting 23 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
Through the air, Bedsole was 1-of-2 for 18 yards — which was the touchdown toss to Ethan Hines.
East Bladen will host Heidi Trask on Friday at Lenon Fisher Stadium at 7 p.m. for homecoming.