ROCKY POINT — One can only wonder what the East Carteret and Heide Trask score would have been if the Mariners didn’t get off to such a slow start.
After going scoreless in the first quarter Monday night, East exploded for eight touchdowns in the next three periods, including four in the second, while cruising to a 55-7 victory.
The Mariners upped their mark to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference. They have now hit the 50-point mark in three league games. They were on the wrong side of such games last season, giving up at least 50 points four times in a 3-9 campaign.
The Mariners continued their hectic schedule, winning for the fourth time in five games over an 18-day span. Following its season opener and two quarantines by Richlands and Trask, East had to play a game every four days to get its seven games in by the state-mandated April 9 end-of-season cutoff.
Adam McIntosh entered the game on a roll.
Over the past five games he rushed for 395 yards and eight touchdowns and passed for 504 yards and seven touchdowns.
He didn’t slow down against the Titans.
The junior quarterback rushed for four touchdowns – on runs of 80, 3, 60 and 24 – and threw for another score.
All but one of those TDs came in the second quarter.
Mason Rose stopped Trask (0-5) with a sack on fourth down and then caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from McIntosh to make it a 28-0 game with just 29 ticks left on the second quarter clock.
Jacob Nelson, who set up McIntosh’s second score of the game with a sack and forced fumble, gave the Mariners their sixth unanswered touchdown midway through the third quarter with an 81-yard scamper.
After a Trask score, Anthony Dalia rounded out East’s scoring with touchdown runs of 40 and 24 yards. Dalia now has three touchdowns on the season following an 11-yard scoring catch in the win over Dixon.
Cris Herrera connected on five PAT kicks to contribute to the scoring.
East will next travel to Croatan (5-1) on Friday as both teams vie for their first Coastal 8 Conference championship. Southwest Onslow won the first three league titles.
The Cougars have already clinched at least a share of the crown with an unbeaten 5-0 mark. The Mariners can force Croatan to share the title with a victory.
The Cougars beat East 49-0 last season to earn a victory in the county series for the first time since 2015.
According to NCPreps, this year’s battle will be a matchup of two of the best teams in their respective divisions. The Mariners are 14th in the NCPreps 1A rankings, while Croatan is 16th in 2A.