Havelock High grad helps ECU become bowl eligible with 48-28 victory

Published: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 06:34 PM.

Carden was happy for his 5-foot-10-inch, 177-pound teammate, who had caught 17 passes this season without scoring.

“I know he’s a heck of a player, and it was good to get him in the offense, get him some touchdowns today,” Carden said. “I like the way he plays. He’s a fiery guy and he loves to block, so it was good to finally get him in the end zone with the ball.”

Carden and Webster contributed to an atrocious start for the Cougars, who had just one first down on their first five possessions and went three-and-out four times in that span. They made no significant progress until a 40-yard desperation heave from Piland to Roberts set up Piland’s 10-yard touchdown strike to Larry McDuffey to make it 28-7 with 5 seconds left in the first half.

Houston had 136 yards of total offense in the half, 75 of it on that final drive. ECU, meanwhile, punted just once in the half.

The Pirates caught what should have been a huge break when an apparent 56-yard touchdown pass from Piland to Shane Ros early in the third quarter was nullified. The officials ruled that Ros fumbled the ball into the end zone, resulting in a touchback for ECU.

But Cooper promptly fumbled the ball back to the Cougars on ECU’s 34-yard line, setting up Piland’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Sweeney one play later to pull Houston to within 28-14.

The Pirates, however, did enough to keep the visitors at arm’s length, winning the time of possession battle by a nearly 3-to-1 margin while keeping Houston one-dimensional.

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