East Bladen ends Rams’ season 68-28

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ELIZABETHTOWN — Greene Central had a taste of postseason success last week, but East Bladen wouldn’t allow any more Friday.

The Eagles scored early and often, defeating the Rams 68-28 in the second round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A playoffs. Fresh off a 28-6 road win against Kinston, Greene Central’s first postseason victory since 2005, the Rams fought early, but the Eagles’ 562 rushing yards were too much.

“Not having our best offensive and defensive players in Willie Edwards and Tyreke Speight (due to injury) didn’t help either,” Rams coach Allen Wooten said. “We asked guys to step up and we played well for a while, but East Bladen kept scoring and we couldn’t keep up. Hats off to them, they’re (12-1) for a reason.”

East Bladen averaged 4.8 passes per game coming into Friday’s affair, but scored on the opening offensive play when Quinton Bedsole threw a 51-yard pass to Sincere Smith. Greene Central countered with A.J. Dupree’s 70-yard kickoff return touchdown and Taboris Bynum’s 2-point conversion on a fake kick to go ahead 8-7 just 27 seconds into the contest.

The Eagles drive down the field and cashed in with a 2-yard run by Xavier Wooten, but the Rams responded again with quarterback Jackson Batchelor finding Bynum for a 19-yard score.

East Bladen would take the lead for good on a 63-yard score by Wooten, sparking off a run of 21 unanswered points. Bynum scored on an 81-yard kickoff return, but Wooten followed with his third touchdown to give the Eagles a 42-21 halftime advantage.

The Rams were outgained 399-70 in the first half and the Eagles attack continued in the second. After East Bladen recovered a squib kick, Wooten scored from 18 yards three plays later before Xavia McDaniel had an 11-yard touchdown. Batchelor connected with Dupree for a 53-yard score to bring the Rams within 55-28, but Wooten followed on the ensuing drive with a 7-yard touchdown before adding his sixth from nine yards out with 6:31 to play to end the scoring and start the running clock.

Wooten had 29 carries for 329 yards with Eric Chancy adding 157 yards on 16 carries.

“It’s something we hang our hats on,” East Bladen coach Robby Priest said. “We do have some things we need to work on, especially in special teams and defense, but overall I was pleased with our efforts. The energy was definitely there.”

Batchelor went 7 of 16 for 121 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Dupree caught two passes for 71 yards and Bynum had four receptions for 35. Javon Edwards led Greene Central with 42 yards on 11 carries as the Rams finished the season 8-5.