WENDELL — East Wake’s offense simply could not be stopped on Friday night against Garner in the Greater Neuse 4A Conference opener for both teams.
The Warriors (2-3) got 504 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns from senior quarterback Trent Evans to stun the No. 2-ranked Trojans 54-40.
One play summed up the game for the Warriors, who scored a touchdown on a fourth-and-15 play from the Garner 30 and came up with big play after big play. But the most opportune moment came on a punt with the Warriors up 47-40 with five minutes left in the game.
Evans, the Warriors’ punter, had his kick blocked from East Wake’s 19, but the ball popped right back into his hands and he scampered 26 yards for a first down. The Warriors continued the drive and scored a clinching TD on a 4-yard run by Evans with one minute, 23 seconds left.
“Winners find a way to win,” East Wake coach John Poulnott said. “We finally put it together for four quarters tonight. That was a big win.”
Evans was 18-for-31 passing for 345 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 159 yards and two TDs on 16 carries.
“I had never beaten Garner,” Evans said. “On the blocked punt, it came back to me and I saw a lane and just took off.”
Garner standout running back Nyheim Hines, who came into the game with 1,111 yards rushing and 19 TDs, rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries and caught a 53-yard touchdown pass.
“That blocked punt, if we get it there and score, it’s a different ball game,” Garner coach Thurman Leach said. “But they have a good ball club. He had his team ready and they did a great job.
“My hat’s off to them.”
Garner dropped to 4-2 overall, but Leach said that he was confident his team could rebound from the defeat.
“We’ve got to get healthy,” Leach said. “We’re going to get better.”
East Wake set the tone early, driving 87 yards after the opening kickoff. Evans capped the drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Jackson. Evans connected with Jackson on three scores, the other two covering 18 and 27 yards. Evans and Evan Finch teamed up on an 83-yard TD and he connected with Tyler Burton for a 42-yard touchdown.