BEAUFORT — Things looked much different for the East Carteret football team after the first week of the season.
The Mariners started the fall campaign on Aug. 20 with a 59-42 victory over Swansboro thanks to Adam McIntosh rushing for 312 yards and five touchdowns.
Seven weeks later, East had yet to win another game, and McIntosh is out for the year with an injured knee.
The Beaufort outfit got back on the right track, however, on Friday with a 33-14 homecoming win over Jones Senior.
“It feels good to get back in the win column,” East coach B.J. Frazier said. “It had been a long time. I’m so thankful we were able to get this win. We worked really hard this week.”
Frazier’s squad moved to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the 1A/2A Coastal Plains Conference.
“I’m happy … excited for the kids,” he said. “Now we’re 1-1 in conference, and right now, that is all that matters.”
The Mariners had dropped four straight, getting outscored 180-26 in the process. They had tallied just one touchdown in the last three games, getting outscored 146-6.
“When we looked at film, we’ve had a lot of mistakes,” Frazier said. “And not to take any credit away from the teams that beat us, but I feel like we showed more precision, more effort, more execution tonight.”
The home team dominated both sides of the ball, racking up 305 total yards, while holding Jones Senior to just 134. The Mariners out-rushed the visitors 209-70.
“Our offensive and defensive lines executed their jobs,” Frazier said. “And if they do their jobs, it is big. It all works together when it works up front.”
East scored five times against the Trojans, which also fell to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the league. Jones Senior broke a 36-game losing streak on Sept. 24 in a 14-13 win over East Columbus and followed with a 49-0 blanking of Lejeune.
If not for penalties, the Mariners might have scored seven touchdowns. They had two scores called back – they eventually hit paydirt after the first was penalized – and also had a long run returned. Refs doled out 94 penalty yards on 13 flags.
“We had a lot of holding calls,” Frazier said. “I’ll go back and watch the film. I figure they don’t call them for nothing. It happens. We haven’t broken a long run in a long time, so we’re not used to blocking downfield.”
Miguel Bassotto saw a 50-yard scoring run brought back for holding on his team’s first offensive play of the second half. Later in the drive, he scored from 4 yards out to make it a 26-8 game. The senior finished the night with three touchdown runs and 111 yards on 11 carries.
He opened the scoring with a 35-yard run late in the first quarter on the first play after teammate Brody Nelson recovered a fumble. Bassotto gave his team the lead for good at 19-8 with a 10-yard run before halftime.
“Miguel ran well,” Frazier said. “We wanted to keep him fresh, so we got some young guys in there. We had four guys carry the ball tonight, and that was awesome. We don’t want to overload him and wanted to give those other guys confidence.”
Alex Doans, who had 26 yards on seven carries, scooted 42 yards to the 2-yard line midway through the third quarter, but that was reversed due to holding.
Branson Long also had a 31-yard interception touchdown return called back late in the game.
Antonio Bryant capped the scoring with a 5-yard run with 2:47 to go in the fourth quarter. He had 49 yards on four carries.
Nigel Murrell rounded out the rushers with 23 yards on seven carries.
Amarion Shelton provided the highlight of the night with a 79-yard kickoff touchdown return early in the second quarter.
Darren Piner had the best game of his young career. The sophomore signal-caller went 11-for-16 passing with 96 yards and an interception. He connected with six different receivers.
“He is starting to find a groove,” Frazier said. “I give Adam some of the credit. He coached him up and helped with the gameplan, letting us know what Darren could do. He said Darren reminds him of him his sophomore year. Darren is getting better.”
Skyler Gray led all receivers with 43 yards on three receptions, including a nifty 31-yard one-handed catch. Evan Taylor had one catch for 24 yards.
East will next host Pamlico. The Hurricanes are also 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the Coastal Plains.
“They are very athletic, fast, physical,” Frazier said. “We’ve got to be as intense as we were tonight. It all starts Monday at practice.”
Here are results of the game:
Jones Senior..................................... 0 8 6 0 - 14
East Carteret.................................. 13 6 7 7 - 33
Jones Senior East Carteret
5 First Downs 14
26-70 Rushes-yards 29-209
4-11-1 Passing 11-16-1
64 Passing yards 96
134 Total yards 305
5-14 Punts-average 1-36
2-1 Fumbles-lost 0-0
0-30 Penalties-yards 13-94
20 Return yards 94
EC – Bassotto 35 run (Harding kick), 3:14, 1st.
JS – Andrews 5 run (Andrews run), 9:22, 2nd.
EC – Shelton 79 kickoff return (kick failed), 9:06, 2nd.
EC – Bassotto 10 run (run failed), 4:20, 2nd.
EC – Bassotto 4 run (Harding kick), 5:01, 3rd.
JS – Jones 55 pass from Howard (run failed), 1:45, 3rd.
EC – Bryant 5 run (Harding kick), 2:47, 4th.
RUSHING: Jones Senior – Andrews 11-43; Brown 4-37; Murrell 8-16; Howard 3-(-26). East Carteret – Bassotto 11-111; Bryant 4-49; Doans 7-26; Murrell 7-23.
PASSING: Jones Senior – Howard 4-11-0-1-64. East Carteret – Piner 11-16-0-1-96.
RECEIVING: Jones Senior – Jones 2-60; Brown 2-4. East Carteret – Gray 3-43; Taylor 1-24; Gagnon 1-10; Shepard 2-9; Bassotto 1-6; Eakes 3-4.