Eastern unable to topple Tartans in SOC I clash
Posted: Friday, October 7, 2016 11:42 pm | Updated: 12:48 am, Sat Oct 8, 2016.
In a much anticipated matchup for the Eastern Eagles (4-2), the East Tartans (6-0) came to town Friday night to square off in a Southern Ohio Conference Division I football contest.
The Eagles came into the game looking to ride the momentum from their decisive 24-7 win at Symmes Valley last week, and get a win against a very good East Tartan football team. The Tartans came into Beaver with a very impressive resume thus far, as they had rolled through the first six games on their schedule. In the end, East battled from behind and took the 36-14 win.
The Eagle defense started out strong in this one, as they forced a three-and-out on the East’s first possession. After the East punt, the Eagles took over at their own 36. The East defense matched the Eagle defensive effort as they came up with a three-and-out of their own. After the Eagle punt, the Tartans set up shop at their own 29-yard line. On the first snap from scrimmage, the ball got away from East quarterback Drew Lowe and was picked up by Eagle defender Ocie Jennings at the East 10-yard line.
The Eagles went to work deep into East territory looking to put up the first score of the game. A few plays later on fourth and goal, Noah Gray, looking to dive his way into the end-zone, was stopped inches short of the goal line. This resulted in a turnover on downs and the East Tartans took possession just outside their own end zone. The Eagle defense took advantage of the field position advantage, forcing East to punt from deep in their own territory after just one set of downs. Wesley Hodge brought the kick to the East 25 and that’s where the Eagles began their first scoring drive of the evening.
On that drive, Clay Martin found Wes Hodge across the middle for a 21-yard gain, which got the Eagles down close to the goal line at the East 4. As they’ve made a habit of doing the last few games after getting in close, the Eagles handed the ball to junior lineman Dalton Tomlison and let him plow through a line of defenders and into the end zone for the first score of the game. Owen Strong nailed the point-after and made it 7-0 in favor of Eastern.
The East Tartans returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 38, and that’s where they took over looking to match the Eastern score. The Tartans were able to pick up a first down before the Eagles pushed them back into a trouble situation at third-and-12. The Tartans, however, were able to convert when Lowe completed a 35-yard pass to get the Tartans down inside the Eagle 10. On the next play, the Tartans were able to punch it in to complete the 62-yard drive and make the score 8-7 after a successful two-point conversion.
The Eagles got the ball back with 2:05 to go in the first quarter, looking to take the lead back. Beginning the possession just on their side of the 50, the Eagles looked to complete a pass up the left sideline. The pass was broken up by an East defensive back, but a pass interference penalty was called, which gave the Eagles positive field position, putting them at the East 46. It appeared as if the Eagles would indeed take back the lead when Clay Martin found Wes Hodge across the middle of the field for a presumed Eagle touchdown. A holding penalty was called however, to bring the play back, and the Tartans took the ball back to begin the second quarter.
Driving into Eagle territory, the Tartans came up with a big play, as Drew Lowe completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to his receiver Flannery. This score, after a failed conversion, made it 14-7 East with 7:57 to go in the second.
The Eagles took over from their own 47 looking to strike back. After a first down run by Martin got them into East territory, Noah Gray moved the chains once more for a first down at the East 20. On the next play from scrimmage, Martin picked up yet another first down to give the Eagles a first and goal at the six-yard line. After being forced into a fourth-and-goal situation, Martin’s shot to the end-zone was batted down, and the Tartans took possession. The Eagle defense then gave up a couple of first downs before forcing the Tartans to punt on fourth-and-seven. After taking over from their own 20, the Eagles fumbled, and allowed the Tartans to take over first-and-10 at the Eagle 14.
Brady Douthat then found the end-zone on an 8-yard rush, which made the score 20-7 after an unsuccessful point-after attempt with 44 seconds to go in the half. The Eagles picked up a big first down run before the half from Noah Gray, but he was tackled as time expired, and the Tartans took a 20-7 lead into the locker room at the half.
The East Tartans were able to strike first in the second half, as with 9:33 to go in the third, Drew Lowe was able to force his way into the end zone for a touchdown. The East two-point conversion attempt was successful after a pass was tipped around and eventually hauled in by receiver J.D. Hatcher. On the next Eagle possession, they gave the ball to sophomore Colton Gray, and he made his way down to the East 37, for the first down. On the next play, quarterback Clay Martin marched into the end-zone from 37 yards out for the Eagle score. Owen Strong put the point-after kick through to reduce the East lead to 14 at 28-14 with 8:54 to go in the third. Moments later, the Eagles were able to cash in on an onside kick, and recover the football at their own 49.
A few plays later, looking to complete a pass up the sideline, Clay Martin’s pass was picked off by Kanyan Bruton, and the Tartans took over at the Eagle 46. On the next East possession, the Eagle defense forced them into a fourth-and-31 punt situation, and the Eagles regained possession.
A couple possessions later, East senior running back Akia Brown took it in for the score from 47 yards out, making it a 36-14 East lead after a failed extra point attempt. This would be all the Tartans would need as they would cruise from here. After a turnover, the Eagle defense gave one last fight as they forced the Tartans to fouth-and-three, and Dalton Tomlison brought down Akia Brown in the backfield to force a turnover on downs. The Eagles were unable to put anything else together offensively however, as the score remained 36-14 in favor of East as the fourth quarter time expired. The East Tartans move to 7-0 on the season, and the Eagles drop to 4-3.
Early on in the game, it appeared as if the game would be an even battle, as the two teams exchanged scores as well as defensive stops. But as the game progressed, the Tartan offense was able to heat up, and the Eagles made some key mistakes at important times in the game. Even so, the Eagles definitely had some bright spots in tonight’s game such as junior Ocie Jennings’ performance, as he turned in 10 tackles. On the offensive end, sophomore Colton Gray gave the Eagles five rushes for 40 yards in his highest workload game of the season. The Eagles will look to get back on track with a win in a homecoming game against another SOC rival in the Green Bobcats next Friday night at 7 p.m.
Clay Martin- 6 for 23 for 83 yards
Clay Martin- 16 rushes for 72 yards
Noah Gray- 12 rushes for 43 yards
Colton Gray- 3 rushes for 40 yards
Noah Gray- 2 catches for 35 yards
Wes Hodge- 1 catch for 16 yards
Ocie Jennings- 10 tackles
Garrett Allen- 7 tackles
Jake Cruse- 7 tackles
Luke Spencer- 6 tackles