I tried a couple of times to get this on Saturday over at the Burlington Times-News web site and one of our readers got through over there and grabbed it and here it is on the Eastern Alamance-Northern Guilford game from Friday evening and there’s a video that goes with this article and you can take that all in when you Click Here and head to the Times-News site.
Eagles fall short against Northern Guilford
MEBANE â€” In the frantic moments after Eastern Alamance scored a touchdown that whittled a seven-point Northern Guilford lead down to a single point with 15 seconds left, the Nighthawks burned their final timeout while the Eaglesâ€™ offense trotted back out on the field to try a potential game-winning two-point conversion.
In the midst of the frenzied Eastern Alamance sideline, a group of grass-stained linemen huddled together for a quick prayer.
The group broke up with an emphatic â€œAmen!â€
When Northern Guilford pressure forced Eagles quarterback Lamar Ivey to fling a rushed pass well short of his intended receiver, those prayers were left unanswered as Northern Guilford took a 24-23 victory, handing the Eagles their first loss of the season.
â€œWe decided to go for the win instead of the tie, it just didnâ€™t pan out,â€ Eastern Alamance coach John Kirby said.
Eastern Alamance (5-1), ranked second in Class 3-A in The Associated Press state poll, hadnâ€™t been behind much in its five victories this season. But the Eagles didnâ€™t appear fazed when they fell behind 24-14 in the fourth quarter.
â€œI think our kids kept fighting and playing hard,â€ Kirby said. â€œâ€¦ I donâ€™t think we ever felt like we were going to quit. I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any quit in this team.â€
A 38-yard field goal by Tripp Hupman with 11:10 left in the fourth quarter moved the Eagles a score away from knotting things up.
Later in the quarter, a promising Eagles drive was snuffed out when North Guilford recovered a botched handoff. Eastern Alamanceâ€™s defense held strong and gave its offense one more try.
Eastern Alamance took advantage of the opportunity, grinding out five first downs to move to the Northern Guilford 8-yard line with less than 30 seconds left.
After an incomplete pass on first down, Ivey rolled to his left and hit tight end Dylan Hair in the end zone with 15 ticks left.
On the two-point conversion try, Ivey looked for Hair again. This time, Northern Guilfordâ€™s Stephen Machanic broke through the Eagles blockers to smother Ivey. Before going down, Ivey floated a pass toward the goal line that was knocked down by the Nighthawksâ€™ defense.
â€œWe got a little penetration up the middle and that forced them outside,â€ Northern Guilford coach Johnny Roscoe said. â€œI think we had everybody covered on the patterns they were running, we put some pressure on them and tried to put them between a rock and a hard place.â€
The failed two-point try was the last turning point in a game full of them.
Eastern Alamance turned its opening possession into an efficient 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Ivey.
But the Nighthawksâ€™ senior standout Keenan Allen answered with a 69-yard kickoff return, giving Northern Guilford the ball at the Eaglesâ€™ 16. Receiver Maurice Harris made the field position pay off by scoring on a 15-yard reverse.
Northern Guilford jumped ahead later in the quarter when Chris Gaford hit a 22-yard field goal on a possession set up when Northern Guilford recovered an errant Eastern Alamance option pitch. The Nighthawks pushed their lead to 17-7 when Allen, who split time at quarterback, fired a 9-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Downing.
Eastern Alamance chopped into the Nighthawksâ€™ edge before halftime as Ivey guided the Eagles on a nine-play scoring drive, plunging into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown with two seconds left in the half.
â€œThe line was blocking and I was picking out the routes and reading the defense,â€ Ivey said. â€œIt was working for us. â€¦ It seemed like when it came down to the two-minute drills, we started scoring. Weâ€™ve got to do that all throughout the game.â€
Northern Guilford put the Eagles back down by double digits when Allen hit Harris for a 33-yard touchdown reception.
â€œEverybody knew that we were going to make a comeback,â€ Ivey said. â€œNobodyâ€™s heads were down. We had faith.â€