Southern tops Valley Christian
Eagles score 22 points in 2nd half but fall to Indians, 46-22
CAMPBELL – In a clash between two undefeated teams in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference, the Southern Indians were able to come away with big defensive plays to propel them to an impressive 46-22 win over the Valley Christian Eagles.
The Indians improve to 6-2 overall on the season, 5-0 in the EOAC. The Eagles fall to 5-2 on the year, 3-1 in the league.
“This was a big game. This would be our playoff game if the playoffs started before tonight, “ Indians junior Cooper Edmonton said of the Indians computer eighth-seed before the game.
The Indians would score three touchdowns on defense courtesy of a returned fumble and two interceptions for touchdowns to stake them to a 46-0 advantage at halftime. Fortunately for the Indians that proved to be enough as the Eagles stormed back in the second half despite a running clock.
“We played as well as we could play in the first half, but we played badly in the second half,” Indians coach Rich Wright remarked. “This is a tough place to play, and they are a very physical football team. We got a nice lead in that first half and then we got a little too comfortable.”
“We knew they ran spread so we went with deep coverage and then when they ran the ball we blitzed,” Edmonton explained the Indians defensive approach in the game.
“They had a good game plan, and they executed it,” Eagles coach Andy Hake said. “Coach Wright is a good coach, and they have a nice team.”
The Indians started the game just as they had hoped as they went on an impressive 65-yard, 11-play drive to score on a Wyatt Morris 6-yard run. That came at the 6:20 mark of the first quarter.
The Eagles however had a pass picked off on their first possession of the game. It proved to be the first of three, but the only one that the Indians didn’t convert into a touchdown.
The Indians quickly took advantage of the Eagle’s miscue as Morris would score once again. This time it was a 4-yard run to push the Indians lead to 16-0 with only 11-seconds remaining in the first quarter.
But midway through the second quarter, the flood gates opened up for the Indians as Colton Soukup scooped up a fumble for a 25-yard touchdown return at the 8:15 mark, then he followed that up with a 17-yard interception return for a score with 6:41 left in the quarter. That boosted the Indian’s lead to 30-0.
The Indians scored once again when quarterback Ryan Exline connected with Morris on a 38-yard pass for a touchdown. That gave them a 38-0 lead with 2:24 remaining before halftime.
Cooper Edmonton added the final points of the contest for the Indians 25-seconds later when he picked off an Eagles pass and returned it 30-yards for a score. That gave the Indians a commanding 46-0 at the intermission.
“We are very physical for being such a young team,” Wright said of his Indians squad. “They are physical too, so it made for a hard-hitting football game.”
To the Eagle’s credit, they did not go away quietly. Despite a running clock, the Eagles went with a hurry-up offense and score three times in the second half to avoid a running clock in the final minute of the contest.
“I wish the second-half team would have come out here in the first half. We can’t have three turnovers for touchdowns,” Hake stated. “Honestly, I give our kids so much credit for how they played to stop the clock like that. That is what we wanted to do. I’m really proud of our kids.”
The Eagles Ja’Sean Lindsey scored on a 15-yard run in the third quarter, then Jon’Qual Pabellon ran it in from 2 yards with 3:21 remaining in the game to make it 46-14. Following a successful onside kick, Eagles quarterback Joey Battista connected on a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jhordan Peete to make it 46-22 with only 46 ticks left in the contest.The Indians will try to keep things rolling next Friday when they travel East Palestine. The Eagles will try to bounce back next Saturday night when they host the Wellsville Tigers.