WENDELL — Trey Cronins third interception of the night nixed West Johnstons final drive of the game and gave East Wake a 27-23 win in the regular season finale Friday night.
The win left East Wake (3-8, 3-4 Greater Neuse River 4A) matching Southeast Raleighs league record, but the Bulldogs took the fourth playoff spot out of the conference in having defeated East Wake 20-12 on Oct. 12.
West Johnston (3-7, 2-5) found itself in position to tie the game with eight minutes to play after Warrior return man Dominique Lane fumbled the ball and the Wildcats recovered on the East Wake 7 yard line.
The Warriors, however, held West Johnston to a field goal one Alex Mattes hit from 37 yards out marking the end of the Wildcats scoring in the game.
East Wake scored first on a 13-yard pass from Alex Cowan to Adam Sauls on a fourth-and-two play three minutes into the game. Jonathan Adams added a 28-yard field goal to give the Warriors a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
West Johnston got on the board two minutes into the second quarter on 24-yard toss from Justin Carroll to Cody Murdock, and Mattes extra point left the Wildcats deficit at three points.
Damontay Rhem, who led the Warriors with 25 carries for 171 yards, responded with a three-yard run for a score halfway through the second period. Dylan Reyes extra point make set the Warriors up with a 17-7 lead, and Cronin picked off a pass by Cameron Williams in the final seconds of the first half make the score stand at the break.
Murdock opened scoring in the second half with an eight-yard rushing touchdown, but Mattes point after attempt came up short.
East Wake took a 24-13 lead after Rhem broke loose for a 44-yard score on the ground before Cronin ended yet another West Johnston drive with his second interception at the end of the third quarter.
The Warriors produced three points off the Wildcat turnover on a 20-yard field goal by Adams about a minute into the final period, punctuating East Wakes scoring for the night.
Murdock rushed for a five-yard score with eight minutes left in the game to put East Wake within reach down the final stretch.
Behind Rhem, East Wakes running game was led by Cowan, who carried the ball 13 times for 91 yards. Cowan was accurate on eight of 19 passes for 95 yards in the win.
Carroll led the Wildcats, completing 17 of 24 passes for 226 yards through the air.