Eagles' persistence pays
Fri. September 13, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. | By Brian Mull | StarNews Staff Writer | Brian.Mull@starnewsonline.com
Ashley's Chris Kane prepares to hand the ball off to Jesse Jewell during the Screaming Eagles' game against White Oak at Ashley on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. (Photo by Mike Spencer)
On a night when both teams had little trouble moving the football, Ashley's defense and passing game made the difference.
The Screaming Eagles held White Oak to three points on two trips inside the red zone and made a strong stand late to preserve a 31-24 nonconference victory.
Ashley quarterback Chris Kane ran the triple option with poise and power. He rushed for 164 yards on 34 carries and passed for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
"The passing boosted our confidence," Kane said. "We have good pass protection, the O-line is doing great. And it really caught the defense off guard."
Ashley finished with 372 yards of total offense.
All of Kane's passing yardage came in the first half, on five attempts. Ashley (2-2) was put in a bind when starting A-back Daniel Andrews was injured early, and White Oak's defensive scheme kept fullback Jesse Jewell in check.
Ashley coach Tom Eanes praised backup A-back Stephan Russell. He set up one touchdown with a 31-yard reception and gave the Eagles the lead for good at 21-14 when he slipped behind the defense for a 44-yard touchdown with 53 seconds showing in the first half.
"Chris reads so well," Eanes said. "People think it's easy to read the triple. They were going to give us Chris, so we were going to take it. When you run the triple, you just gotta let it happen. Can't predetermine.'
Ashley pushed its lead to 31-17 with 8:34 remaining on a 7-yard run over the left side by Jewell. But White Oak answered by going 80 yards in eight plays, capped by a 14-yard run around right end by Kendall White.
Disaster struck two plays later when Kane fumbled and White Oak recovered with just under four minutes remaining at its 37.
The Eagles corralled White Oak quarterback Elijah Harris on the first two plays. On fourth down, Ashley defensive back Andre Stukes deflected a pass to seal the victory.
Eanes was thrilled with the way his defense answered late in both halves.
"They have a lot of speed in the backfield and I was worried about it," Eanes said. "Their kids are so fast and ours really aren't that fast."
On Twitter: @BGMull