It was without star quarterback Nolan Ford another game, but Warren East still found a way to get the job done.
Facing crosstown foe Warren Central on Thursday night, the Raiders fired on all cylinders — scoring points at ease, presenting a strong defensive presence and taking care of the ball — and rolled to a 47-6 win over the Dragons at Jim Ross Field.
“I thought the fast start really helped us,” Warren East coach Jeff Griffith said. “It got us going. We scored right off the bat, and then we got the turnover on the kickoff return that put us up 14-0 — and we played well from there.”
Warren East (2-2) — which has now won back-to-back games against Edmonson County and Warren Central — built a 27-6 lead after the opening quarter and was up 40-6 at halftime. The Raiders tacked on another score midway through the third quarter to seal it and move to .500 on the year.
The Dragons (0-4), who committed five turnovers, have now lost 49 consecutive games dating back to Oct. 16, 2015.
The Raiders got going early, scoring just 43 seconds into the game with a six-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Isaiah Ghee to wide receiver Dee Gilbert. Tray Price broke loose for a 38-yard run on East’s first play to set up the score, which put it up 7-0 at the 11:17 mark of the first quarter.
KJ Alexander’s first rushing TD of the night — an easy one-yarder — doubled the Raiders’ advantage to 14-0, but Warren Central answered with a 54-yard TD run by DeAngelo Patterson to cut its deficit to 14-6 at the 8:43 mark.
Price’s 36-yard TD run gave Warren East a 21-6 lead, and Alexander soon scored again from four yards out to make it 27-6 after one.
“We’re working every day,” Alexander said. “We’re working all week. We were locked in and prepared for the game. We’re trying to keep momentum and work hard. We’ve gotta get better as we go through the season because we’ll have to face harder teams.”
Another four-yard score from Alexander pushed the Raiders’ advantage to 34-6, and Ghee’s 30-yard TD strike to Gilbert put the home club up 40-6 at the break.
Alexander’s fourth TD came on a five-yard run, which gave Warren East a commanding 47-6 lead and sealed it with a quarter to still play.
“The thing about KJ is that he started the year off with an injury,” Griffith said. “He didn’t even play the first game, and I thought at Russell County he was probably 75%. I thought last week he looked a lot better, and I thought tonight he looks like the KJ we hope to have the entire year. He’s a really good running back and an outstanding player.
“We’ve gotta continue to feed him because he’s gotta be the guy that carries the load offensively.”