The temperature was 90 degrees at game time, but felt like it was closer to 100. The hot weather didn't discourage fans from filling up the stands as the Shaw High School Hawks hosted the East Side Trojans.
With this being the first game of the year, both teams made their share of mistakes. The Trojans proved to be more successful in the end as they clipped the wings of the Hawks with a 36-6 victory.
East Side had a strong ground game as the team rushed for 251 yards on 37 carries.
"I thought the guys did a good job," East Side head coach Kendrick Woodard said. "We were able to run the football a little bit. We had quite a few turnovers and kind of had some penalties at the end. We're a young ball club, and it's early in the season. The offensive line did a better job in the second half, and we played a bunch of young guys tonight.”
East Side had a tough time early on. On the Trojans' second possession of the game, East Side fumbled the ball away with Shaw High's Rickey Lunford getting the recovery to put the Hawks at the Trojans' 19-yard line. It appeared as if East Side's defense might keep Shaw High off the board, but quarterback Jermarquis Stimage marched on a 30-yard touchdown run with 4:36 left in the first to give the Hawks a 6-0 lead. The two-point conversion pass from Stimage was incomplete, but the Hawks still drew first blood.
East Side's offense buckled down and started moving the football. Quarterback Clifton Shavers was able to connect with Leon Green on a 35-yard pass to move the Trojans down to the Hawks' 4-yard line. With 1:02 left in the first, Quadarrius Shaw ran into the end zone from one yard out to give the Trojans their first six points of the game. The extra point kick from David Washington was no good, but the game was tied 6-6.
On East Side's next possession, the Trojans went back to work as Maurice Banyon marched on a 16-yard touchdown run with 6:55 left in the second quarter. Shaw scored the 2-point conversion to give East Side a 14-6 lead.
It looked like Shaw High was gaining momentum toward the end of the half as the Trojans fumbled the ball away on a punt. The Hawks weren't able to score as the Trojans still led 14-6 at halftime.
The Trojans had to kick off to the Hawks to start the third quarter. Shaw High was able to move the ball and put together a 6-plus minute drive, but East Side’s defense kept Shaw High off the scoreboard.
The Hawks' defense was able to force the Trojans to punt, but Washington's punt pinned the Hawks down to the 15-yard line. East Side's defense came up with its biggest play of the game as Padarrious Bronner intercepted Travelle Ware’s pass and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown with 3:38 left in the third quarter. The Trojans scored the 2-point conversion to make the score 22-6.
Things went downhill for Shaw High after that. The Trojans were able to score two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Shaw galloped on a 15-yard touchdown run, while Traveyon Craig marched on a four-yard touchdown run. Washington kicked the PAT after both scores to help the Trojans secure a 36-6 win.
"We played a pretty good team," Shaw head coach Montrelli Finley said. "We had some injuries to the quarter, and we had to put a back-up in. He (Travelle Ware) played pretty good ball. We found a couple of bright spots on the defensive side of the ball, but we missed a lot of tackles. We turned the ball over three times, and they score on all three turnovers. We have to be consistent in the things that we do. We have to be a better team, and I have to do a better job of coaching.”
Craig was East Side's leading rusher with 89 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, followed by Kendrick Thompson with seven carries for 55 yards, Maurice Banyon with 48 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and Shaw with 26 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
In the passing game, Clifton Shavers completed 2-for-7 passes for 40 yards with Green catching both completions. Shavers also rushed for 26 yards on two carries.
On defense, Lacharles Ramsey led the Trojans with 12 tackles and a sack, followed by Gary Conrod with seven tackles, Javonte Frazier with six tackles, Greg Green and Charlie Harris with a fumble recovery each and Bronner with an interception for a touchdown.
For Shaw High, Stimage played well early but had to be taken out of the game due to a concussion. Ware played well filling in at quarterback for Stimage, while Tyquan Rule and Lunford did a great job of catching the football.
Both teams will return to action on Friday. East Side (1-0) will host John F. Kennedy at Leroy Byars Field, while Shaw High (0-1) will travel to Leland to play the Leland High School Cubs.