TAMPA — With the lead dwindling and East Bay seizing momentum, Sean McNamee heeded his coach's words.
"They just kept saying someone make a play," McNamee said. "And I made a play."
Did he ever. McNamee's blocked field goal and return for a touchdown was the difference as the Wildcats held off visiting East Bay on a soggy homecoming night.
East Bay trailed 14-0 at halftime but Chris Carpentier's 1-yard sneak trimmed the lead to 14-6. After a Wharton (4-1) punt, East Bay again drove to the Wildcats' 7-yard line and lined up for a field goal. But McNamee shot through the gap and blocked the 23-yard try. The ball never touched the ground as the junior linebacker raced 87 yards for a 21-6 lead.
"I think we eased up and got lackadaisical in that second half," McNamee said.
East Bay (3-2) answered on Carpentier's second 1-yard sneak, but McNamee stuffed the two-point conversion run to keep it at 21-12 with a little more than eight minutes to play. Wharton followed with a punt and Chris Greene went off left tackle from 3 yards to make it 21-18.
Brandon Wright, Times correspondent