Eagle Rally Comes Up Short

Mitchell Gibbons covers the ball as he bangs into the end zone Friday. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

Mitchell Gibbons covers the ball as he bangs into the end zone Friday. (Photo/Martha Ladd)

JOHNSTON – Richard Winn Academy arrived in Johnston Friday night coming off a two-week hiatus due to the weather that pummeled the state. Down 20-13 at the half to the Patriots of Wardlaw Academy, the Eagles put together a second-half rally, but came up short, suffering their first loss of the season, 38-33.

The Eagles opened the game looking great on their opening drive despite not playing a down of football for 14 days. Eagle quarterback Gunnar Hensley hit Mitchell Gibbons for a 20-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring with 7:11 left in the first quarter. A failed 2-point conversion gave the Eagles an early 6-0.

Both defenses were clicking on all cylinders in the first quarter after the Eagles’ touchdown, allowing not another point to be scored.

Wardlaw Academy began the second quarter with a vigorous ground attack, but it would be through the air that they would strike pay dirt. A 10-yard touchdown pass evened the score at the 11:01 mark, and a failed 2-point conversion kept the game locked at 6-6.

Richard Winn answered with a 10-yard touchdown run by Hensley, giving the Eagles back the lead, 13-6, with 8:32 left before the break.

Wardlaw did not let this lead stay on the board long. The Patriots struck back with an electrifying 95-yard kickoff return cutting the Eagles lead 13-12 after another failed 2-point attempt. Wardlaw’s defense stifled RWA’s typically explosive offense giving the Patriots an opportunity to stay in the game. Wardlaw Academy took their first lead of the game following a 26-yard touchdown run putting the Pat’s up 20-13 at the half.

The Patriots kicked off the third quarter with a strong drive, pushing the ball on the ground. Their ground game increased their lead to 26-13 after a 5-yard touchdown run. It was the first time the Eagles had trailed in 53 weeks. With a little more than 10 minutes left in the third, RWA was going to have to rally.

John Coleman’s 4-yard touchdown run cut the Patriot lead to 26-19 with 5:28 left in the quarter. Wardlaw bounced right back, extending their lead to 32-19 after a 48-yard touchdown pass.

The Eagles struck back immediately with a quick scoring drive. Webb Yongue broke a 10-yard touchdown run with just over 2 minutes left on the third quarter clock, cutting the Patriots Lead 32-26.

Wardlaw Academy hit RWA back in the mouth with an 18-yard touchdown run with 5:13 to go in the final frame, pushing their lead back to 38-26.

RWA responded immediately. Hensley returned the following kickoff down to the Patriots 10-yard line. Hensley capped off his hard work hitting Yongue on a 10-yard touchdown pass once again, helping the Eagles cut the lead to 38-33 with 5 minutes to play, giving the Eagles a chance to complete the comeback.

The Eagle defense stopped the Patriots on the following drive, giving RWA an opportunity to win the game late in the fourth. After getting to midfield, the Eagles comeback bid came to an end after Wardlaw stopped RWA on fourth down, handing the Eagles their first loss of the year.

“I am proud of how our team responded to adversity tonight, even though our comeback came up just short,” RWA head coach Dan Dickerson said. “This game has shown them just how great our next opponents will be and I hope this has woken them up just a bit to keep working hard.”

Now 6-1, Richard Winn hosts Greenwood Christian Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

RW: 6-7-13-7 – 33

WA: 0-20-12-6 – 38

Scoring

First Quarter

RW – Mitchell Gibbons 20 pass from Gunnar Hensley (pass failed). 7:11.

Second Quarter

WA – Smith 10 pass from Jones (run failed). 11:01.

RW – G. Hensley 10 run (M. Gibbons kick). 8:32.

WA – Franks 95 kickoff return (run failed). 8:16.

WA – Franks 26 run (Jones run). 1:22.

Third Quarter

WA – Jones 5 run (pass failed). 10:08.

RW – John Coleman 4 run (pass failed). 5:28.

WA – Smith 48 pass from Jones (pass failed). 4:57.

RW – Webb Yongue 10 run (M. Gibbons kick). 2:09.

Fourth Quarter

WA – Franks 18 run (pass failed). 5:13.

RW – W. Yongue 10 pass from G. Hensley (M. Gibbons kick). 5:00.

Team Stats

                                   RWA             WA

First Downs                15                15

Rushes/Yards            42-193          43-262

Passing Yards              128             182

C-A-I                       12-20-0       10-20-1

Fumbles/Lost           0-0             0-0

Penalties/Yards        5-45           4-35

Individual Stats

RUSHING: RWA – John Coleman 4-23, Gunnar Hensley 22-85, Webb Yongue 13-85.

PASSING: RWA – Gunnar Hensley 12-20, 128 yards, 2 TD.

RECEIVING: RWA – John Coleman 1-15, Webb Yongue 3-24, Bryant Carvalho 4-36, Mitchell Gibbons 4-53.