GASTON — After Eastern Hancock’s defeat streak reached four a week ago tonight, coach Pat Echeverria said football was becoming not fun among his team.
Friday night at Wes-Del, the Royals most certainly enjoyed themselves.
With junior Spencer Gilbert rumbling for 237 yards and four touchdowns, EH throttled the Warriors 48-12 Friday night, regaining momentum it desperately needed as the sectional draws nearer.
It was Gilbert’s second 200-yard effort of the year, and in doing so he reminded older fans of Earl Campbell, either skirting right by or outright bowling over defenders all night.
“My line, man, you’ve got to give it all to my line,” Gilbert said. “I ran the ball hard because my line gave me the push. When my line’s rolling, I’m rolling.”
The Royals (3-4) were up 7-6 against a game Wes-Del squad (1-5) as a very quick first half was winding down. But Gilbert took over, and the Warriors were left helpless.
Gilbert nearly doubled what was at that point a 41-yard ledger by racing 35 yards down his team’s sideline, deftly evading a tackler and finally scoring, 92 seconds before halftime.
The next three times Gilbert reached the end zone, the Warriors didn’t know what hit them.
In the space of 14 seconds of game time as the second half started, Gilbert got in twice, from 12 and 26 yards out. EH recovered a Wes-Del fumble on the kickoff after Gilbert’s first TD of the half, and he broke loose the very next play.
Gilbert completed his third-quarter hat trick with a 5-yard run on a broken play (a low shotgun snap to quarterback Logan Splater).
“He’s a very strong kid and he works extremely hard,” said Echeverria of Gilbert. “He gets behind the big kids up front, and once he gets in the open field he’s very tough to bring down.”
Splater didn’t throw much (seven times) and he didn’t need to. But when he did, he hit his mark, including an 11-yarder to Sam Carlton on a play-fake, on the first play of the fourth quarter. Splater also called his own number to open the scoring.
Sophomore Cooper Henderson not only scored a TD and kicked six extra points, but also assisted Gilbert by “cleaning up whomever was left to tackle,” Echeverria said.
EH totaled 314 yards on the ground, including 60 by Henderson.
“It’s always good to get back on the winning track,” Echeverria said. “Our theme for the week was 50 guys doing it together, and they stood up to the challenge. They got each other pumped up and they were supporting each other.”
It was the 15th time in 18 years the Royals have beaten Wes-Del. EH faces always-difficult Shenandoah and a resurgent Edinburgh side to close out the regular season.
“This is a step in the right direction,” Echeverria said.
“We needed this so we can be able to (play our best) before the sectional.”
Eastern Hancock 48, Wes-Del 12
EH (3-4) 0 14 20 14 — 48
W-D (1-5) 0 6 0 6 — 12
EH — Splater, 10-yard run (Henderson kick), 10:31
W-D — Gill, 42-yard run (run failed), 2:23
EH — Gilbert, 35-yard run (Henderson kick), 1:32
EH — Gilbert, 12-yard run (kick blocked), 10:53
EH — Gilbert, 26-yard run (Henderson kick), 10:39
EH — Gilbert, 5-yard run (Henderson kick), 4:52
EH — Carlton, 11-yard pass from Splater (Henderson kick), 11:56
EH — Henderson, 1-yard run (Hicks kick), 8:08
W-D — Malchow, 4-yard run (pass failed), 1:02
First downs 17 12
Rushes-yards 36-314 47-197
Passing yards 65 47
Comp-Att-Int 5-7-1 6-10-1
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-2
Penalties-yards 4-20 1-5
Rushing: Gilbert 21-237, Henderson 7-60, Spegal 1-9, Noel 2-7, Splater 4-2, Korlowicz 1-(-1) (EH), Gill 19-154, 17-31, Quinn 3-19, Love 3-8, Teters 5-(-15) (W-D)
Passing: Splater 5-7-1-65 (EH), Teters 6-10-1-47 (W-D)
Receiving: Noel 2-57, Carlton 1-11, Henderson 2-(-3) (EH), Wilson 3-35, Helm 1-12, Quinn 1-5, Love 1-(-5) (W-D)