Defense shines in EWU’s Red-White spring game

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Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andrew Boston catches a touchdown pass at EWU’s annual Red-White spring game on April 28. Boston’s White team won the friendly matchup 17–0 | Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner

By Michael Brock, Sports Editor

For the first time in a handful of months, the Eagles finally strapped up for four quarters of action on The Inferno on April 28.

In the EWU football team’s annual Red-White game, which comes at the end of a month of spring drills, the White won 17–0.

After an empty possession by the Red, the White got on the scoreboard on the first play. In a bit of trickery, senior wide receiver Zach Eagle caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from sophomore wide receiver Johnny Edwards IV to put the White up 7–0.

“That was a big play for the offense of the White squad with that reverse pass,” head coach Aaron Best said. “They executed a play that they practiced all week, and so kudos to them. They got off on the right foot and kind of shocked the Red squad.”

Eagle, who won the Golden Eagle Award as the game’s MVP, said the early score helped capture the momentum.

“It [gave] us a lot of excitement and energy, and that carries over to defense, kind of sets the pace for the offense, and then special teams as well,” said Eagle. “So it definitely helped us out.”

On its next possession, the White scored again as senior quarterback Gage Gubrud and redshirt freshman Gunner Talkington split snaps. The seven-play, 57-yard drive was capped off with an 11-yard pass from Talkington to redshirt freshman wide receiver Andrew Boston in the back of the end zone.

The White led 14–0 at halftime, before knocking down a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter.

Eagle finished with three catches for 63 yards and another 31 yards on two punt returns for the White. Junior wide receiver Jayson Williams finished with three receptions for 47 yards, while Gubrud was 4-of-10 passing for 45 yards.

Sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere led the offense for the Red, who advanced to the White 21- and 23-yard line in the fourth quarter, but never got closer to scoring.

Barriere was 14-of-22 passing for 170 yards and an interception. Senior wide receiver Nsimba Webster led the Red with three receptions for 68 yards.

Defense from both sides may have been the story of the game; the White had 176 yards on 37 plays, while the Red notched 162 yards in 38 plays.

Three players had five tackles each for the Red—redshirt freshman defensive back Ira Branch, senior linebacker Kurt Calhoun and junior defensive lineman Dylan Ledbetter. Junior defensive back Dehonta Hayes also picked an interception.

For the White, sophomore linebacker Chris Ojoh had five tackles and a sack, while redshirt freshman defensive back Keshaun King had an interception. Junior linebacker Jack Sendelbach led the team with 11 tackles and a sack.

“We definitely took a lot of steps [forward],” Sendelbach said. “We’ll see a defense that’s a lot more experienced in the fall. We’re all in really good shape and all really cohesive this year.”

EWU resumes practice in August, and will open 2018 at home against Central Washington on Sept. 1.

“All in all we are healthy, half the squad is happy, and here we go into the fall of 2018 after 15 spring practices,” said Best.