United smashes Leetonia
LEETONIA — The Leetonia football program was celebrating the dedication of their new turf field Friday night, but the United Eagles crashed the party.
The Eagles were able to win a battle between two programs that pride themselves on smash-mouth football with a 33-0 victory over the Bears.
“I think both teams are very physical, and we both like to run the ball,” Eagles coach D.J .Ogilvie said. “Paul (Hulea) is old school and we both just like to grind it out and be tough in the trenches.”
“It was tough. They have played in several four-quarter games and we played one half. And it showed,” Bears coach Paul Hulea said. “At least now we got into a four-quarter game, and now we turn the page and move on.”
The Eagles, who improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference, slowly wore down the Bears as they capitalized with three second-half touchdowns. Two of those scores came from freshman backup quarterback Parker Newburn replacing starter Grant Knight due to an ejection.
“I was pretty nervous,” Newburn said. “I haven’t played that much varsity, but I went in and did fine.
“Parker is a smart football player for one, and the biggest thing for him is that he went in there and he showed composure,” Ogilvie said. “The moment wasn’t too big for him. He is just going to get better and better.”
But perhaps maybe even more important was Newburn’s insertion at quarterback in the first half. With 10:03 remaining before halftime and the Eagles leading 6-0, Newburn found sophomore receiver Luke Courtney on a slant pass from 24-yards out to stake them to a 13-0 advantage.
“Yeah, that put us ahead by a little bit more,” Newburn said. “I was looking for Grant (Knight) and he was in triple coverage, so I turned to the other side and Luke (Courtney) was open.”
Not only did Courtney catch that pass, but he also booted two field goals in the first half to give the Eagles an early 6-0 lead. His first was from 23 -yards on the Eagles opening drive of the game, and then again from 35 yards with just 1:38 left in the first quarter.
“I just go out there and take a deep breath and make good ball contact,” Courtney said. “After that, I just hope for the best.”
“We were starting to figure things out a bit. We made a couple of plays, and a couple plays, then we give them a turnover,” Hulea said. “Holding them to two short field goals kept us in the game.”
Courtney’s strong leg also played a huge role in the Eagle’s defense as the Bears were forced to start six of their eight possession from their 20-yard line due to touchbacks on kickoffs. The deepest penetration the Bears had was to the Eagles 23 just before halftime.
“That is a huge advantage!” Ogilvie said about Courtney kicking into the end zones on kickoffs. “Putting them on the 20 is an amazing feeling and I know as an offensive coordinator that stating your drives at the 20 is tough for play calling.
With the Eagles leading 13-0 to start the second half, the Eagles scored on a 9-yard run by Newburn at the 9:03 mark of the third quarter to make it 19-0. Then they scored twice in the final frame as Cody Cope ran in from 26-yards just 52-seconds into the quarter, followed by Newburn racing 46-yards with 8:29 remaining in the contest.
“The score wasn’t indicative of how close of a game it was,” Hulea remarked. “I’m proud of our kids, that didn’t back down and they played hard to the end.”
Leetonia and Salem, the last two Columbiana County unbeatens, both lost their first games Friday. Leetonia drops to 1-1 overall and 1-1 in the EOAC.
The Eagles will try to stay perfect in the league play next Friday when they travel to Columbiana. The Bears will enjoy their new turf again next Friday when they entertain the Valley Christian Eagles on homecoming.
LEETONIA: 0-0- 0-0– 0
U–Luke Courtney 23 field goal
U–Luke Courtney 35 field goal
U–Luke Courtney 24 pass from Parker Newburn (Courtney kick)
U–Parker Newburn 9 run (kick failed)
U–Cody Cope 26 run (Luke Courtney kick)
U–Parker Newburn 46 run (Luke Courtney kick)
First downs 9 9
Total Yards 256 142
Rushes-yards 30-198 38-119
Passing 58 23
Comp-Att-Int 5-5-0 2-5-0
Punts-Avg. 1-45 4-23
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 7-60 8-96
RUSHING–United, Grant Knight 10-74, Parker Newburn 4-58; Leetonia, Joe Guido 14-44, Jacob McCool 10-36, Hayden Cibula 11-36.
PASSING–United, Grant Knight 3-3-27-0-0, Parker Newburn 2-2-31-1-0; Leetonia, Joe Guido 2-5-23-0-0.
RECEIVING–United, Luke Courtney 4-51, Ward Kiko 1-7; Leetonia, Tatum Finley 1-14, Noah Riffee 1-9.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES – United, Steffen Jarrett, Brock Rhodes.