8U Washington Eagles outlast Belhaven Bulldogs

Published 6:25 pm Saturday, November 19, 2016

GREENVILLE — Jennette Josiah scampered 8 yards to score the 8U Washington Eagles’ game-winning touchdown in Saturday’s 8U championship. Montgomery Korby punched in the 2-point conversion to give the Eagles its decisive 32-26 lead over the Belhaven Bulldogs.

The shootout win capped off a dominant run by the Eagles, and was the first title for first-year head coach Teshon Foreman.

“This is my first season here coaching a team as the head coach,” he said. “We just worked hard — work hard, play hard. Nobody gave up, and everybody gave it everything they had.”

The game, which featured seven lead changes after Belhaven drew first blood, was back and forth from the get go. Hezeki’ah Mann broke through first with a 5-yard touchdown less than four minutes into the game.

The Eagles had an answer for everything the Bulldogs did, though. Korby took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown, and Josiah got two to give Washington the lead 11 seconds later.

Mann efficiently carried the Bulldogs through Washington territory before scurrying for a 1-yard score. Belhaven missed out on two again, but reclaimed the lead — 12-8 with 1:36 to play in the first.

The Bulldogs kicked the ball to Korby again. Like clockwork, he reversed the field — this time running through the right side as he took his second consecutive kickoff to the house. Another conversion by Mann gave the Eagles a 16-12 edge.

The Bulldogs were able to keep up. Ethan Wilson picked up 12 yards on the first play of the drive, and capped it off with a 23-yard touchdown on the next play. Mann broke through for two, giving Belhaven a 20-16 advantage with 27 ticks left in a high-scoring first period.

With the Eagles driving early in the second, Ty Stephens and Trexler Gray combined for a stop to bring up fourth-and-2. Ebron Ja’Tavion was able to trudge up the middle to earn Washington a first down, though.

The Eagles and Bulldogs traded turnovers, and the second went by without a score. With Washington threatening in the red zone, Wilson stripped the ball away. Booth Kjahlijah came up with a pick shortly thereafter, but the Eagles fumbled the ball right back.

Washington received the kickoff to open the second half, still trailing 20-16. Josiah ripped off a 27-yard run to set up Korby for a touchdown. A successful conversion later, Washington took a 24-20 with 2:39 left in the third.

Wilson answered with a short score of his own. The sixth lead change of the game saw Belhaven take a marginal 26-24 lead five seconds into the fourth quarter.

The Eagles were calculated in the way they marched down the field. A 19-yard gain by Josiah put Washington on the 21. He eventually scored the decisive touchdown, leaving just 38 seconds on the clock for Belhaven to overcome a 32-26 deficit.