The East Wake Warriors enjoyed one of their best seasons in recent years, but it came to an end Friday night at the hands of powerful Scotland County in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs.
The third-seeded Scots defeated the Warriors 28-12. Scotland County limited the Warriors rushing attack to just 47 yards and intercepted three passes, but East Wake quarterback Tripp Harrington turned in a gutsy performance.
Scotland County (12-1), which plays in the Southeastern Conference, will play at Wilmington Hoggard in the third round. East Wake, ranked No. 5 in the N&O, finished its season 10-3.
Warriors coach John Poulnott praised his team’s handling of adversity after the game, and encouraged the younger players to emulate what the seniors accomplished.
“We got a lot out of these seniors, who stayed at East Wake and believed in what we could do,” said Poulnott, whose team finished second in the Greater Neuse River conference. “Scotland is a very physical team, but these kids stood up to the challenge.”
East Wake scored on its opening possession. Harrington converted a key third down play with a 45-yard bomb to senior Quincy Jackson. Harrington later scored on an eight yard scramble, but the extra point was blocked.
Scotland scored at the end of the quarter and then got rolling in the second period. Quadrin Williams scored twice and Zamir White added a touchdown to give the Scots a 21-6 lead at halftime.
Harrington injured his leg on the last play of the half but still finished with 203 yards passing.
“Unfortunately we never got to see what a mobile quarterback could do against a really tough Scotland defense, because Tripp was hurt early,” Poulnott said.
The Warriors threatened in the third quarter, but Harrington’s pass in the end zone was intercepted by Ty McLaurin on the 17th play of a drive.
Harrington connected with Jackson early in the final period to set up a five yard touchdown by senior Damontay Rhem, but the extra point was again blocked to keep East Wake down by two scores, 21-12.
White, who led the Scots with 132 rushing yards, iced the game late with a three yard touchdown.
Jackson led the Warriors with three catches for 102 yards.