Eagles top Columbiana, 35-20

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Eagles senior Raquan Bell goes up for a touchdown reception against Columbiana on Saturday.

CAMPBELL — The Valley Christian Eagles capitalized on several big plays as they knocked off the Columbiana Clippers 35-20 in a key Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference tilt Saturday night.

The victory improves the Eagles to 5-1 on the season, 3-0 in the EOAC. The Clippers drop to 1-6 overall, 0-4 in the league.

Perhaps the biggest play of the night for the Eagles occurred at the start of the second half. With the Eagles leading 14-6, but the Clippers showing some life at the end of the first half, the Eagle defense forced the Clippers to punt on their opening possession of the third quarter.

Jon’Trell Mixon rushed in and blocked the Clippers Mike Seeger’s punt. The Eagles Camden Cecil-Cox scooped up the ball and raced 23 yards for a touchdown and a three-possession lead at 21-6.

“That was the difference,” Eagles coach Andy Hake said. “It was 14-6 and the game could have gone either way. Jon’Trell Mixon is a special, and he blocked that. He made several great plays in the game.”

“That gave us a boost of energy,” Eagles senior receiver VeShun Gurley added.

“It was a killer,” Clippers coach Bob Spaite exclaimed. “We talked all week that we have to be the most disciplined team. We could not make critical errors. And I’m the special teams coach, so that’s on me. We’ll fix that.”

But the Clippers responded with an impressive drive as they scored on a 27-yard pass from quarterback Anthony Kocanjer to Eddie Clancy just three minutes later. That closed the deficit to 21-14.

The Eagles answered right back with a 10-play drive with Cameron Davenport tossing a jump ball to receiver VeShun Gurley in the corner of the end zone. Gurley outjumped the Clippers’ defender to secure a touchdown and a 28-14 lead with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“I was just going to try my hardest to catch it,” Gurley said of the catch. “I’m blessed to be able to jump as high as I do. It was an amazing throw by the quarterback. He doesn’t even play quarterback.”

The Clippers and Eagles would trade touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the Eagles Gurly once again scoring, this time on a 24-yard pass to stake the Eagles to a 35-14 lead, before the Clippers closed the scoring with a 31-yard pass from Kocanjer to Trevor Dearing with 8:04 remaining in the game.

“We had some chances, and the kids played hard. Hats off to Coach Hake. They definitely out-athlete us in a couple of areas. Overall, I was not disappointed in the way we played,” Spaite remarked.

The Clippers will try to bounce back next Friday when they travel to East Palestine. The Eagles will host the league-leading Southern Indians next Saturday night in Campbell.


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