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A Setback

ECSU's mistakes costly in loss to Saint Augustine's | w/Video and Photos

Saint Augustine's 24 Elizabeth City State 17

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ECSU's Elizabeth City State's Christopher Little (left) tackles Saint Augustine's running back Antavius Marrow (20) during the football game against Saint Augustine's, Saturday, September 29, 2018 at Roebuck Stadium in Elizabeth City.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The opening kickoff of Elizabeth City State’s home football contest against Saint Augustine’s was a microcosm of the game.

A kickoff return for a touchdown was erased by an ECSU mistake.

In the case of the kickoff, a holding penalty took away a Vikings score.

ECSU was unable to overcome mistakes as it lost to Saint Augustine’s 24-17 Saturday afternoon at Roebuck Stadium.

ECSU was hit with 10 penalties for 58 yards, while SAU was tagged with 11 penalties for 86 yards.

Despite that, the Vikings were in range of tying the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association contest in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 24-17, ECSU (1-2, 0-1 CIAA) had the ball at the Saint Augustine’s 11-yard line midway in the fourth quarter.

After a Kedrick Patterson run to the 1-yard line set up 1st-and-goal, a false start penalty by ECSU moved the ball to the six.

On the next play, Patterson’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Falcons’ defensive lineman Keywan Morgan and linebacker Joseph Harris caught the ball for the interception.

Saint Augustine’s was able to run more than four minutes off the clock as quarterback John Darby was able to break big runs on the Vikings defense to pick up first downs.

ECSU forced a punt with around three minutes remaining in the game.

ECSU went three-and-out on the drive and punted back to the Falcons.

The ECSU defense was able to force a punt with 90 seconds reaming in the game.

Pinned at their own 20-yard line and out of timeouts, the Vikings could not mount a game-tying drive as a Patterson pass was high over the intended receiver and intercepted by Roy Garris to secure the win for the Falcons (1-3, 1-1 CIAA).

“They are a good football team,” ECSU coach Anthony Jones said of Saint Augustine’s. “We were up to the challenge. We made a ton of mistakes. From the opening kickoff to the last play from scrimmage. We just made a ton of mistakes, but we’re young. We’re learning. This is our third game together.”

The contest against the Falcons was ECSU’s first game since Sept. 8, which was a 51-6 loss at North Carolina-Pembroke.

ECSU’s last two games against Winston-Salem State (Sept. 15) and Fayetteville State (Sept. 22) were canceled because of Hurricane Florence.

Jones noted that the time away hurt ECSU because the team could not play a game.

“There’s no experience like game experience,” he said. “That’s the circumstances that we were dealt. We can’t change that.”

The Vikings posted 335 yards of total offense to 228 yards of offense for SAU.

Although the ECSU defense did play good in spots, it gave up multiple big plays.

The Vikings struggled to contain wide receiver Lenwood Joyner.

Joyner, a senior from Miami, gave SAU a 7-0 lead following an 8-yard touchdown catch.

The score was set up by a 57-yard completion from Darby to Desmond Smith to put SAU into ECSU territory.

ECSU went on an 18-play drive and on 4th-and-goal from the Saint Augustine’s 4-yard line, Patterson scrambled to his right and tossed the ball into the back corner of the end zone to Dajuan Greene who out-jumped and snatched the ball away from the SAU defensive back for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

Saint Augustine’s took a 14-7 lead late in the first on a punt to Joyner who got multiple blocks from his teammates to spring him across the field and down the SAU sideline for a 66-yard return for a touchdown.

The Vikings had a chance to tie the game in the second, but on 1st-and-goal, ECSU was called for a holding penalty.

The Vikings settled for a 28-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 14-10.

The Falcons added a field goal late in the half to take a 17-10 lead at halftime.

Saint Augustine’s opened the third quarter with the pass as Darby hit Joyner in stride and the receiver out-ran the ECSU secondary for a 40-yard touchdown to extend the Falcons’ lead to 24-10.

Joyner finished with 56 receiving yards and two touchdowns, while Darby went 10 of 15 passing with 184 yards and two scores.

Jones noted that there were breakdowns on defense by ECSU.

The Vikings responded with a six-play drive that was capped on a Patterson 24-yard touchdown pass to Charles Davis.

In the third, backup quarterback Ezekiel Best entered the game for a series.

According to Jones, it was in the plans to get Best, a freshman from Goldsboro’s Eastern Wayne High School, into the game for a series.

“He did some things well. He did some things not-so well,” Jones said of Best’s college football debut.

Patterson went 13 of 31 for 194 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

“This is his third college football game,” Jones said of Patterson. “He’s still learning.”

Jones added that Patterson played well enough to lead the team to victory.

“We made some mistakes that we shouldn’t make and we couldn’t overcome,” Jones said.

The Vikings open CIAA Northern Division play at Virginia State next Saturday.

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