East Ascension had to wait more than a half before it found its game, but once it got on a roll it could not be stopped.

Trailing by two touchdowns midway through the third quarter, East Ascension rallied scoring the last 20 points as they took a 26-20 District 4-4A win at Woodlawn on Friday night.

Spartans running back Walter Samuel got the comeback started with a 49-yard touchdown run. He got East Ascension close with a 74-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans took their first lead of the game on Troy Dunn’s 7-yard touchdown run with 1:47 left to play.

Behind the play of quarterback Rickie Collins, Woodlawn (3-3, 2-1) moved the ball all game, but was scoreless after Collins’ 15-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon Henry with eight minutes left in the third quarter.

How it was won

Trailing 20-12, East Ascension (3-3, 2-1) faced a fourth-and-1 from its own 34 early in the fourth quarter. Dunn’s sneak picked up the first down, and after losing 10 yards on penalties, Dunn found Samuel on the left sideline for a 74-yard catch-and-run score.

After forcing a Woodlawn punt from midfield, East Ascension went 77 yards in 10 plays for the go-ahead score. The key play was Samuel’s 41-yard run, when he started left before reversing field on his way to a first down at the Woodlawn 25.

The Spartans used six running plays to get to the end zone.

Woodlawn got the ball back with 1:47 left, but stalled after a personal foul put it in a hole. Three Spartans defenders tackled Collins for no gain on fourth-and-14 at the Woodlawn 40.

Player of the game

EA running back Walter Samuel: Samuel had just 21 yards rushing at halftime, but gave his team the spark it needed after that. He finished with 127 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He also caught three passes for 111 yards and another score.

They said it

East Ascension coach Darnell Lee: “I challenged the kids at halftime. I said, ‘Look, we’re not playing Spartans football.' The light was off. They got off the bus flat, but they dug deep and they responded.

Both teams played a great game tonight. I told (our kids) to show some respect. Our kids are so happy they want to dance and celebrate, but that’s a team (Woodlawn) that worked just as hard as we did.”

Samuel describing his touchdown reception: “I already had it in my head that I was going to take it (all the way). The pass came in low, and I caught it. All I saw was a touchdown after that.”

Notable

Collins threw his third interception of the season, a pass that was deflected, in the second quarter. He finished the game 20 of 32 passing for 229 yards and one touchdown.