The GW Eagles opened the 2019 playoffs last Friday with a sluggish offensive performance.  But it was more than offset by a stellar defense and one big special teams play.  The Eagles went on the road and beat the Halifax County Blue Comets 27-6 to advance to Round Two.

The Eagles threw down the gauntlet quickly.  Before most of the fans got settled into their seats, Shawn Watlington took the opening kickoff at the 12, squirted through a narrow seam in the middle, and outran the Comets for an 88-yard touchdown.  A missed extra point kept the score 6-0.

While the GW defense was keeping the Comets at bay, their offense struggled.  Senior tailback Wesley Graves was still showing the effects of an ankle injury.  The Eagles also missed a sure touchdown when a pass to a streaking Shy Watlington was overthrown by mere inches.

The Eagles stretched it out to a two-score lead when Graves rumbled in from seven yards out midway through the second quarter.  Meantime, the Eagle defense got interceptions from Kendrell McClary and Watlington to keep the Comets off the board.

GW closed out the first half with a short drive that ended with a diving, one-yard plunge from quarterback Shakobe Hairston.  They led 20-0 at halftime.

The Comets got the ball to open and second half and picked up first downs moving into the Eagles’ red zone.  But the GW defense stiffened on a fourth down and the Comets had no points to show for a seven-and-a-half minute drive.  The Eagles offense got the ball back and had their best drive of the night.  It ended with a seven-yard scoring pass from Hairston to Zavion King.

The Eagles kept their 27-0 edge though most of the fourth quarter.  A Comet touchdown with 1.6 seconds left on the clock prevented GW from recording their first back-to-back shutouts in four years.

GW’s 276 yards of offense was their lowest total of the season.  They limited Halifax to 198 total yards.  It was GW’s 14th consecutive win over the Blue Comets.

The win improves the Eagles record to 8-3.  This Friday they’ll travel to Salem Stadium to take on the top-ranked Salam Spartans. It will be the third time in the last six seasons they’ve met in the playoffs.  Salem won the previous two meetings in 2014 and 2017.

               GW     Halifax

First Downs  14   10

Rushes/Yds 33-144  36-132

Passes C-A-I 11-15-1   6-13-2

Pass Yds     132   66

Total Yds   276     198

 

Rushing  (Att  Yds  Tds,)

(GW)

Graves   14      56        1

Edmunds 5         36        0

Watlington 3       33        0

Hairston  11        19        1

(Halifax)

Mack   13        57        0

Lee    9          32        0

Wilson  7          18        0

Roberts  3          16        1

 

Passing Att. Comp Yds Tds Int.

(GW) 

Hairston 15 11 132 1 1

(Halifax)

Lee 13 6  66 0 2

 

Receiving No.  Yds. Tds

(GW)   

Sn. Watlington 3  51  0

Howard           2 39   0

Sy. Watlington 2 32   0

King 2  9 1

McClary 1 7 0

Pritchett 1  -2 0

(Halifax)

Roberts 2 23  0

Mack 2 22  0

Chappell 2 10 0

 

Scoring

First Quarter

GW --- Sn. Watlington 88 kickoff return (kick failed) 11:46

 

Second Quarter

GW --- Graves 7 run (Deandrea kick) 8:57

GW --- Hairston 1 run (Deandrea kick) :21.7

 

Third Quarter

GW --- King 9 pass from Hairston (Deandrea kick) 2:44

 

Fourth Quarter

HC --- Roberts 3 run (run failed) :1.6

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