Elizabeth City State celebrated their homecoming on Saturday with a 32-28 win over Chowan. The win allowed the Vikings to snap a three-game losing streak to the Hawks.
ECSU (3-2, 3-5) opened the scoring on a fast moving first quarter with a 2-yard rushing touchdown from Kevin Caldwell. Chowan (2-3, 5-3) responded with two long touchdown scoring passes, a 79-yard strike from Bryce Witt to Imeek Watkins, and a 75 yards from Witt to Ja’Quan Albright. ECSU responded with a 32-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback De’Abrie Smith to Zion Riddick. ECSU was able to score again by Khalil Turner’s blocking of Luis Orellana’s punt, and Shai Wheeler recovering the ball in the endzone.
Chowan was able to seize the lead in the second quarter when Witt found Watkins again for an 8-yard touchdown pass. In the third quarter, Chowan extended their lead in the third quarter when Witt connected with Samuel Dunn for a 38-yard touchdown pass. ECSU responded in the same quarter when Smith connected with Josiah Hayes for a 5-yard touchdown pass. ECSU scored a go ahead touchdown with 4:12 left in the game, as Smith passed for his third touchdown of the game, this time to Riddick from 16-yards out.
ECSU’s demonstrated some resilience to pick up the win. Chowan outgained ECSU 510-280 yards, including more than doubling ECSU’s passing output (474-226). Despite the significant disparity, one particular event stood out. Chowan was leading 28-25 and had an opportunity to extend their lead in the early fourth quarter when they were within the ECSU 10. On fourth-and-3, ECSU’s defense was able to limit a Witt to Watkins pass to two yards, forcing a turnover on downs. While ECSU converted on all three red zone attempts, Chowan’s ability to convert on two of the three red zone attempts proved to be a key difference in this game.
Smith led Elizabeth City with 160 yards and three touchdown passes, while Caldwell passed for 66 yards and had the aforementioned touchdown run. Riddick had five receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Witt lead Chowan’s offense with 474 yards passing and four touchdowns, while Watkins had 11 receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Juanya’ Majette lead ECSU with 10 tackles, and Zaire Edwards had 2.5 of Vikings six sacks. Chowan’s Isaac Anderson had two of the Hawks’ seven sacks.
ECSU’s win stops a two-game losing skid. The Vikings host Virginia Union (3-2, 4-4) next week. Chowan’s losing streak is now at three games after starting the season 5-0. The Hawks travel to Virginia State (3-2, 3-4) next week. Both games can be found on the CIAA Sports Network.