East Wake notched its first win of the season Friday night and it wasn’t because visiting Wilson Fike was a pushover for the Warriors.
It appeared the Golden Demons were on that path early on as East Wake ran up a double-digit lead. But in the end it took an 80-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Tripp Harrington to top target Tyler Burton in a third-and-10 situation, and a Fike fumble the Warriors recovered on the following possession to secure a 40-27 triumph.
East Wake (1-1) watched a 20-point, first-quarter lead dwindle to a 1-point game. The Warriors kept a 26-19 lead at the half only thanks to a 67-yard Harrington keeper inside the final minute of the second quarter.
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After a scoreless third quarter for both teams, Mikekale Engles proved his worth in Warrior country.
The junior running back may have deviated from his intended destination to the right side of the field, but his Demon-toting run for 20 yards up the middle to the Fike 1 yard line was enough to earn him another touch that set up a 33-19 lead with 7 minutes to play.
Fike (1-1) returned concern to the East Wake side of the field by covering 73 yards in 1:55, cutting the lead to 33-27 on a 34-yard pass from D.J. Daniels to Shakuan Daniels. Less than a minute later, Harrington hit Burton with a pass on the left sideline and Burton played his blocks wisely on his long trip to the end zone.
Three who mattered
Tripp Harrington, East Wake: The senior QB is no stranger to these types of performances, but this was a good one even for him, despite frustrations in struggling to get rid of the ball under Fike’s pressure. Harrington finished 20-of-29 for 328 yards and two touchdowns in the passing game. He also ran for 124 yards including his one TD.
Tyler Burton, East Wake: The senior WR will take a significant step up among the area’s top receivers after his 12-reception, 236-yard night.
A.J. Hines, Fike: Hines kept the Golden Demons’ drives and hopes alive on several occasions. He finished with 20 carries for 135 yards.
By the numbers
17: The number of penalties assessed against both teams combined, 10 against East Wake (83 yards worth) and seven against Fike (126).
4: Turnovers lost by the Golden Demons – three fumbles and one interception.
3: Total possessions by both teams in the third quarter after they combined for 18 possessions in the first half.
254: Yards from Fike’s rushing attack, produced by Hines, Kenny Johnson (67 yards) and quarterback Daniels (53).
27: Total possessions in the marathon game, which began at 7:30 and lasted more than three hours.
452: Harrington’s total yardage footprint in the win.