GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — You couldn’t have scripted it any better.
Former D.H. Conley standout Holton Ahlers closed out his East Carolina University football career with a Birmingham Bowl-record five touchdown passes as the Pirates rolled to a 53-29 win over Coastal Carolina. Ahlers also scored a rushing touchdown in the win for a bowl record six touchdowns accounted for. He was 26-for-38 for 300 yards and the five touchdowns.
“Yeah. I mean, just. Look, I, I couldn’t imagine a better way going out than this right here, man,” Ahlers said after the game. “So it’s a blessing for sure. You know, the guys that came in and wanted to change this thing, this whole team, man, it’s a blessing to be a part of them.”
“What a great win,” ECU coach Mike Houston said. “Tenth, tenth bowl victory in East Carolina history. OK, really excited for our kids. Really happy for the win. Great to get here in Birmingham. Thanks to all the Pirate Nation that came out. Just couldn’t be a better night.”
Fans felt the same way the next day after the bowl win.
“They played really well. It’s good to see them get a bowl win in nine years, you know? Great way for the season to go out with a win,” said Brooks Rhodes, an ECU fan.
“I’m just super excited because you know we won the game,” said ECU senior Endyia Jones. “It hasn’t been done in a long time, so I’m really pumped about it and you know you can kind of feel… well there’s not many people here… but you can still kind of feel the energy.”
The bars were packed with purple and gold in many locations. Fans kept the energy up all night, too.
“So our bar stayed full the whole time,” said Sup Dogs General Manager Marilyn Reichstein. “We had all of our tables full and you could just tell everyone was just really into the game. It was kind of fun to watch.”
Many fans we spoke with are already looking forward to the next bowl game.
“Amazing. How does it feel to win the bowl game? I think every Pirate is going to say the same thing, you know? It’s just… it was a great win, such a high-scoring game as well. It just … it was great,” Reichstein said.