WENDELL — When the undefeated Trojans traveled to Johnny W. Sasser Stadium on Friday night, they had one plan in mind – get the ball to Nyheim Miller-Hines and let him do the rest.
The sophomore finished with four touchdowns on 108 receiving yards and 20 rushing yards in a 41-14 rout of East Wake. Both of Miller-Hines receiving touchdowns came on bubble screens from quarterback Vincent Jefferies.
“Any time you can come into East Wake and get a win that’s huge,” Garner coach Nelson Smith said. “They play hard and gave us a good fight – even though the score doesn’t reflect that.”
The defense was unable to shut down Miller-Hines and Raevon Smith all night. Both players broke tackles as Smith matched Miller-Hines effort with 126 yards on the ground – averaging 10.5 yards per carry.
Smith punched in a touchdown himself on a 25-yard run that quieted the crowd on the first drive of the third quarter.
“They are our one-two punch to go along with Vincent Jefferies,” Smith said. “Fortunately they are playing for us. Each time Nyheim goes out there, he shows me something different that I didn’t know he could do. Raevon came out here and ran hard and really opened up things for our passing game.
“They are special. That’s all you can really say about them.”
East Wake shot out of the gates on the first drive of the game with an 80-yard drive that ended with a 40-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Trent Evans to Evan Finch. But Garner wasted no time and went down the field in just six plays as Miller-Hines scored his first touchdown on an 11-yard run.
Garner then went on a scoring tear, as Miller-Hines caught an 80-yard pass and 37-yard pass from Jefferies on consecutive drives to put the Trojans up, 21-7, at the half.
Jefferies and Warriors quarterback Trent Evans battled back and forth all game. Jefferies finished 12-for-18 with 174 yards passing and three touchdowns while Evans compiled a 13-for-28 stat line with 173 passing yards to go along with his 39 rushing yards.
“It was just fun to watch both of them go back and forth tonight,” East Wake coach John Poulnott said. “If we would have gotten to Jefferies like they did our quarterback, those numbers might have been a little different. But I’m proud of Trent for the performance he put on tonight.”
The Trojans continued their consecutive drives with a touchdown in the third quarter, with Smith and Miller-Hines scoring on the first two drives and Armani Lanier hauling in a 15-yard pass from Jefferies.
After five consecutive scoring drives, the Trojans led, 41-7, entering the fourth quarter. A 22-yard touchdown run by Alex Cowan would put the score at 41-14 before the final buzzer sounded.
Evans was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter with an injury, but is expected to return in next week’s game.
With the win, Garner remains at the top of the 4A Greater Neuse River Conference standings as the Warriors stay winless and at the bottom of the conference. But despite their record, Poulnott believes his team can still contend for a spot in the playoffs.
“These kids are still fighting because we have five games remaining in the conference and a chance to win them all,” Poulnott said. “There were several years at Millbrook that we started off winless and came back to make it to the playoffs. This team can do that.”