BEAUFORT — The East Carteret football team set a school record for both points and margin of victory Friday in an 84-0 homecoming blowout of Lejeune.
East scored 36 points in the first quarter and took a 64-0 lead into halftime before scoring just 20 points in the second half, thanks to the 40-point mercy rule that allows for a running clock in the final two quarters.
“We just tried to maximize our potential and not really worry about the scoreboard,” East coach Caleb King said. “We were efficient. I was really happy that we held our intensity for the entire game. We played to our level, which is a big deal in a situation like this.”
The Mariners continued to run roughshod over the 1A Coastal Plains Conference in the brief King era, improving to 8-0 in the CPC and outscoring opponents by a whopping 410-112 since the former Havelock assistant head coach took over last year.
East, ranked No. 8 in the latest Associated Press 1A Poll, moved to 8-1 overall and 3-0 in league play. The Beaufort club has yet to give up a point in conference, outscoring opponents 145-0.
Lejeune dropped to 0-8 overall and 0-2 in the conference. The overmatched Devilpups have been outscored 434-6 in their eight losses.
“I thought the guys did a really good job of focusing on themselves and making sure they were doing the right thing, taking the right steps, making the right reads,” King said. “And making sure they were doing everything defensively to close the gap to where we need to be.”
Lejeune didn’t earn a first down until the 7:25 mark of the second quarter and finally crossed into Mariners’ territory with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
Linebacker Luke Farrugia, who was named homecoming king at halftime – Mikayla Yager was named queen – and the rest of the East defense had given up just six yards before the second Devilpups drive of the second half when the Mariners began substituting liberally.
Lejeune amassed 48 yards on its final two drives. Sophomore Desmond Johnson accounted for all of those yards, throwing for 27 and running for 21.
The Mariners’ offense scored 12 touchdowns and racked up 540 total yards, including 290 on the ground and 250 through the air.
Da’Shaun Johnson scored five touchdowns and hauled in six passes for 146 yards and rushed three times for 39. Maceo Donald scored twice and rushed for 97 yards on five carries and caught one pass for 40. Malik Collins, the final member of East’s “Big Three,” had two touchdowns and rushed for 69 yards on five carries while catching one pass for 19.
“Those guys are tremendous football players,” King said. “I can’t say enough about them. Malik’s effort is unbelievable, Maceo is so explosive and fast, and Da’Shaun is the kind of player you come across once every 20 years with his size and speed and aggressiveness.”
Starting quarterback Jacobie Simmons sat out the contest with a sore ankle. Beau Studebaker, who was slated to start under center before breaking his collarbone a week before the seasons started, went 11-for-14 with 250 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for a score.
“Beau did a great job for us,” King said. “He is settling in and getting back into the groove that he was in before the injury. He did well with his reads, and that is the biggest deal. We wanted to rest Jacobie going into the open week. It’s a mild injury, but we’re trying to be careful with him.”
The Mariners will have a week off and then finish the regular season with home games versus Northside-Pinetown and Jones Senior. The Panthers are 4-3 overall and 1-0 in the CPC, while the Trojans are 3-4 overall and 1-0 in league play.
“We’ll come back and get the guys refocused for a conference championship and a playoff run,” King said. “We’ve got two more games to win the conference and five games in the playoffs (to the state championship). We take care of these last two, and we’ll have a lot of playoff games at home. And that is very important to this team.”
Here are results of the game:
EC – Johnson 3 run (Harding kick), 11:19, 1st.
EC – Collins 20 run (Harding run), 10:06, 1st.
EC – Taylor 15 pass from Studebaker (Harding kick), 7:39, 2nd.
EC – Johnson 1 run (Harding kick), 4:22, 1st.
EC – Studebaker 4 run (Harding kick), 2:32, 1st
EC – Johnson 19 pass from Studebaker (Harding kick), 11:53, 2nd.
EC – Collins 1 run (Harding kick), 9:18, 2nd.
EC – Johnson 33 pass from Studebaker (Harding kick), 4:12, 2nd
EC – Donald 3 run (Harding kick), 0:53, 2nd.
EC – Johnson 44 pass from Studebaker (Harding kick), 8:04, 3rd.
EC – Donald 65 run (Harding kick), 10:20, 4th.
EC – Bassotto 10 run (no try), 0:25, 4th.
RUSHING: Lejune – Johnson 6-21, Parker 4-2, Veneziani 14-1, Mathew 4-(-5); East Carteret – Donald 5-97, Collins 5-69; Bassotto 4-52; Johnson 3-39; Livingston 3-27; Studebaker 1-4; Harding 1-2.
PASSING: Lejeune – Johnson 8-11-0-0-27; Veneziani 2-10-0-0-8; East Carteret – Studebaker 11-14-4-0-250.
RECEIVING: Lejeune – Soto 3-15, Parker 5-12, Mathew 2-8; East Carteret – Johnson 6-146; Donald 1-40; Livingston 2-30; Collins 1-19; Taylor 1-15; Smith 1-9.