The moment Jameal Farrison caught the punt at midfield in the second quarter, East coach Brian Byers knew he was going to score.
With one man to beat, Farrison turned the corner and easily trotted into the end zone, helping lead Byers’ Blue Aces cruise to a 34-7 victory of the Pioneers at Carpenter Stadium on Friday.
The touchdown was Farrison’s second punt return for a score of the night.
“It felt pretty good. I was glad to get opportunities like that,” Farrison said. “Opportunities like that don’t happen everyday so you got to make the best of them.”
The Blue Aces also had success running the ball. And when senior Chaquil Reed went out early in the second quarter with an injury, sophomore C.J. Graham took over.
Graham gained 157 yards on 25 carries with two touchdowns, including a 22-yard score in the third quarter.
“We planned on running the football,” Byers said. “We had a multitude of errors the past few weeks and tonight we didn’t have as many.
“I am happy with the win. We needed a win going into district.”
Reed had a one-yard touchdown run on the Blue Aces’ opening drive.
The Pioneers and quarterback Dorian Flournoy challenged East’s defense all game, but seven second half penalties made it difficult for the offense to get in rhythm.
Flournoy completed 15 of 34 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
“It was a tough loss, but it was the first time I have seen our kids finish a game in four or five weeks,” West coach Heath Henderson said. “I can take a lot of positive for our kids to build on.
“We had quite a few letdowns on special teams. If we don’t have those, it’s a completely different ballgame.”