ESD Again Holds Off Rival Lions

ESD quarterback Preston Morway threw two touchdown passes to lead the Eagles past St. Mark’s in the season finale on Friday. (Photo: Rob Graham)

By Michael Finnegan / Special Contributor

Preston Morway threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns to lead ESD past St. Mark’s 14-12 in an SPC rivalry game on Friday at Hunt Family Stadium on Friday.

Morway’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Brodie Burke on the game’s opening possession gave the Eagles (5-3) a lead they never relinquished — and their fifth consecutive win over St. Mark’s.

“This game has a lot of tradition,” said ESD head coach Richard Williams. “It was important to get the offense untracked early.”

The Lions (4-4) responded by cutting the deficit to 7-6 on a pair of Colin Campbell field goals, from 34 and 44 yards, on their next two drives.

“Colin has a very strong leg, and is very accurate,” said St. Mark’s head coach Bart Epperson. “He’s a just a junior, and we always feel confident with him in these tight games.”

As you might expect in a rivalry game to close the season, this one was close from start to finish. Despite out-gaining the Lions by more than 150 yards, ESD could not separate due to an uncharacteristic five turnovers.

“The turnovers hurt, but let’s not forget that’s a very good defense at St. Mark’s,” said Williams. “You have unforced turnovers, then you have forced ones.”

St. Mark’s held the Eagles to 69 yards on the ground, forcing ESD to move the ball through the air. Morway threw his second touchdown pass of the night to sophomore running back Smith Cochran on ESD’s first possession of the second half.

The Lions again answered quickly, reaching the end zone for the only time on Jonathan Taylor’s 17-yard touchdown run with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. St. Mark’s didn’t convert on a potential game-tying two-point conversion, however.

After forcing a turnover midway through the final quarter, St. Mark’s had good field position at its own 42-yard line. Colin Neuhoff’s 12-yard pass to Paxton Scott advanced the ball across midfield. But a 48-yard field goal attempt was just wide, and the Eagles were able to run out the clock and secure the win.

Cochran amassed 84 yards of total offense for the Eagles, while Burke caught 12 passes for 101 yards to lead all receivers. Scott, a junior, led the Lions with 67 yards on four receptions.

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