Collin Eaddy was back in big-game form Friday night. And it was a welcome sight for the Garner Trojans football team.
Eaddy, out for several games with turf toe, rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns to lead Garner to a 49-0 victory over Greater Neuse River 4A Conference foe East Wake.
Eaddy scored on runs on 9, 2 and 10 yards and topped the century mark in yardage on just nine carries.
“Awesome,” Garner coach Thurman Leach said of having his star running back. “Eaddy is that senior leader, a three-year starter. When he’s back, it’s a difference maker. The kids feed off his energy.
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“It was good to have him back.”
Garner, ranked No. 4 in The N&O poll, improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. East Wake dropped to 2-4 and 0-2.
Eaddy’s efficiency was shared by the entire Trojans offense, which rushed for 253 yards on 25 carries – 10 yards per carry. The Trojans also completed four of five passes for 82 yards – including a 32-yard completion on a third-and-31 that kept a touchdown drive going.
The only thing that slowed the starting offense were a couple of fumbles. The Trojans did not punt until late in the game when the reserves were in on offense. But the second unit had its moments – tacking on a pair of TDs in the third period.
“The kids know how important these conference games are,” Leach said. “They played with a great effort tonight I’m proud of them. We had a great effort in all phases of the game.
“When you start conference play, you have to step it up. This is the real season. This is when you are playing for that (playoff) seeding. Each week is a one-game season.”
The numbers back up Leach’s assessment of strong play in all phases the game.
The Trojans notched their first shutout of the season on defense. The kicking game was spotless – Noah Giroux was 7-for-7 on PATs and kicked the ball in the end zone all night on kickoffs.
“Our special teams were good,” Leach said. “Noah had seven touchbacks. When you start your defense on the 20 that is big. I thought we did a good job of run blocking, our pass protection was good and the quarterback threw the ball pretty well.
“Our defense got its first shutout of the year. Those guys have been playing lights-out all year long.”
East Wake was limited to 68 yards rushing and 48 passing by the Trojans.
Standout defensive end Matthew Butler was glad to see the shutout and some accolades for the Trojans defense.
“I really feel like we are underrated as a defense,” Butler said. “I feel like progressing into the season we are going to do extremely well as we have been doing due to our coaching and work ethic.
“We take pride in (the shutout), us and the coaches.”
For East Wake, it was long night. The Warriors’ Mikekale Engles ran hard and finished with 49 yards but East Wake never could generate any consistency on offense.
“They were swarming from start to finish,” East Wake coach John Poulnott said. “We felt like we might be able to take advantage of their secondary, but just didn’t have time to (throw the ball).”