Loading...
Congratulations to the Greek Machine for electing Mayor Connelly. What a blessing he has been. Can the Greek Machine...

WOODWARD: Pirates bond during breakthrough night

RAG_1308-Edit.jpg
1 of 2

East Carolina receiver Blake Proehl catches a deep pass before running the rest of the way for a 72-yard touchdown Saturday night at S.B. Ballard Stadium in Norfolk Va.

082517GMAG-top10-2.jpg
Loading…

By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 30, 2019

NORFOLK, Va.

East Carolina sophomore quarterback Holton Ahlers was asked Saturday night about the last time he enjoyed a bus ride after a road football game and he knew immediately that it was when he was a student and star at D.H. Conley High School.

ECU first-year coach Mike Houston was more emphatic with his postgame comments after the Pirates won 24-21 at Old Dominion, passionately relaying to his team celebrating in the visiting locker room at S.B. Ballard Stadium that he didn’t want to be asked again about the Pirates’ 10-game road losing streak that began in 2017. Eight of those 10 losses came before Houston was at ECU, but even he had some personal sting remaining from a 42-10 defeat at Navy on Sept. 14.

Going one step further, ECU hadn’t won a road nonconference game since Sept. 13, 2014.

Ahlers, C.J. Johnson and others at Conley made it a habit to laugh and smile during bus rides after road victories.

Houston and his staff at James Madison from 2016-18 were able to churn out road wins often as easy as home wins in Harrisonburg, Va.

What made this victory special for this East Carolina team was enjoying it together. All wearing Pirate purple and gold.

Still early in the long-term process of rebuilding East Carolina’s football team into a club capable of quality victories no matter the location, this was a breakthrough night for ECU’s players and coaches.

Most impressive is the Monarchs were favored to win.

But the Pirates, who with a 3-2 record already have proven to be better than the 2016, ’17 and ’18 ECU teams that all finished 3-9, won behind timely aggressiveness. Warren Saba blocked a punt and scooped and scored for a touchdown. Ahlers hit Blake Proehl for a 72-yard TD, creating a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter.

An opportunistic Pirate defense was led by Kendall Futrell and was relentless all night in stopping ODU’s running backs.

Minutes after the win, team representatives told media members about what they were about to experience during the two-plus hour drive of mostly country roads from Norfolk to Greenville.

They said the right things, but did they really know how to act on a relaxed and enjoyable trip home?

Undoubtedly they figured it out, even if it meant drawing on experiences at previous schools.

If East Carolina continues its progression and turns into a consistent winning team, more road victories will come. But the drive from Norfolk to Greenville will always remain with Houston and Ahlers and the Pirates as an unforgettable moment.

The looks on their faces as they were preparing to board their bus showed the importance.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

October 21, 2019

East Carolina volleyball’s 15th win of the season was a five-set victory.

ECU rallied from a two-set deficit at Tulane on Sunday, finishing off a 3-2 victory (14-25, 23-25, 25-17, 29-27, 15-8) for the Pirates to improve to 5-1 in five-set matches and they won for the fourth time when dropping…

030219ECUbaseball-11.JPG

October 21, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla.

The UCF student section was mostly empty for the second-half kickoff between the Knights and East Carolina at Spectrum Stadium on Saturday night.

On homecoming weekend and likely with other social plans on the forefront of their minds, UCF’s students had plenty of reason to…

East Carolina UCF Football-3

October 21, 2019

With Appalachian State still undefeated and N.C. State still scuffling, the real intrigue for college football in this state is which shade of blue is best.

Duke or North Carolina?

It will get settled on the field this Saturday in Chapel Hill. For now, UNC gets the nod because its impressive close…

APTOPIX North Carolina Virginia Tech Football-1

October 20, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — East Carolina's defensive success against UCF during the second half Saturday night, which was a major bright spot in a 41-28 loss, was a mix of adjustments and passion.

Even in allowing 41 points, just below UCF's season average, ECU took pride in outscoring the Knights…

East Carolina UCF Football

October 20, 2019

Raven Johnson is a 6-foot guard for East Carolina’s women’s basketball team who isn’t a prototypical rebounder, but she tries to make up for any height disadvantage with her hop and athleticism.

At 5-6, point guard Lashonda Monk definitely doesn’t possess ideal size for…

101619_gdr_ecubasketball-4.jpg

October 19, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. —  East Carolina’s football team lost 41-28 at UCF on Saturday night in a game that began as all Knights, leading 21-0 and later 35-3 still in the first half, but the Pirates left the Sunshine State mainly encouraged about their second half comeback attempt. Here…

East Carolina UCF Football-22

October 19, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. — Even without Adrian Killins, a ball of energy and quickness as one of the most dangerous players in the country when he has the football, UCF was too fast.

The Knights also scored way too many early touchdowns for the Pirates, despite their storm of a comeback attempt during…

East Carolina UCF Football-4

October 19, 2019

A two-game, all-Florida swing for the East Carolina football team to start the second half of its season begins tonight at 7 at UCF.

Before the Pirates welcome in South Florida for their homecoming next Saturday afternoon, ECU is the homecoming opponent for a talented UCF squad that is looking for…

5d5c5f996e675.image.jpg

October 19, 2019

East Carolina football plays at 7 p.m. at UCF on the CBS Sports Network. Check out the three questions you need to know (in words and video below) heading into the game:

1. Does the ECU defense force any turnovers? The common theme in the Knights’ two losses this year was turnovers. UCF had…

100419_gdr_ecufootball-17.jpg

October 19, 2019

Q: What’s your favorite place to eat in Greenville?

A: One of my favorite places around here is the Carolina Ale House because of the wings. They are really nice.

Q: Who is the hardest hitter at practice?

A: Bruce Bivens brings the stick. Bruce Bivens can hit.

Q: What’s your go-to pump…

5d5c5f80db8b8.image.jpg
231 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 24
        Next Page»   Last Page»