Eagles in a race for EOAC title
LISBON — The United Eagles did their part to set up the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference championship game next Friday.
Behind the rushing of quarterback Grant Knight and a suffocating defense, the Eagles blasted the Lisbon Blue Devils 35-6 at Bud Bucher Field in Lisbon.
The Eagles improve to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the EOAC. Next Friday they will host the Southern Indians, who are also unbeaten in the conference play to decide the league title.
“It’s a big game for all of us,” Eagles senior lineman Payton Brereton said. “Last year we lost 34-21, and the year before that was 65-0, and when I was a freshman we won 35-18 at our field.”
But for Brereton, the game next week will have some extra special meaning.
“I personally live down there so it’s a big game,” he said. “I live in the Southern school district, so yeah it’s a big game for me.”
The Eagles looked to diversify their offense at the beginning of the contest by throwing the ball 10 times in their first three possessions, but it was their pounding rushing attack that eventually took over the contest.
“We run the ball so much we wanted to work on our running game,” Eagles’ coach D.J. Ogilvie said. “We want to become more diverse in our offense. We had that planned all week.”
While they were racking up the yards on offense, the Eagles defense was menacing Blue Devils quarterback Trevor Siefke all night. The Blue Devils were held to just one offensive yard in the first half and a total of 69 yards in the game.
“You know, it wasn’t for the lack of trying,” Blue Devils’ coach Matt Altomare said. “We knew they have a great defense. They have shut down just about every opponent they have played. We knew it was going to be a tall order. They were as advertised.”
“Wow, I didn’t realize that. That is awesome,” Ogilvie said when informed of the Devils yardage. “We are physical and we play good defense. Coach (Jordan) Phillips, coach (Mike) Ward, and coach (Jordan) Wrask do a great job with our defense.”
“The guys up front were doing their jobs well. The guys in the secondary were keeping the coverage locked down and wouldn’t let anybody by them,” Brereton said. “Lisbon threw two or three deep, but we blocked them. That is all we could ask for.”
He added, “He (Siefke) can throw, so the best thing you can do is put guys in his face. Quarterbacks get nervous. It’s the best way to stop somebody.”
The Eagles seized the momentum right from the opening kickoff in the game when they held the Blue Devils to a three-and-out in their first possession, and then scored on a 10-yard pass from Knight to Nick Hardgrove to make it 7-0 in favor of the Eagles at the 8:49 mark of the opening quarter.
The Eagles executed a successful onside kick, gaining possession again at the Blue Devil 45. From there, they capitalized with a 2-yard plunge by Caden Marshall to make it 14-0 with 3:34 left in the first quarter.
“We talked all week, that Luke Courtney our kicker does a great job on onside kicks,” Ogilvie said. “Everyone is worried about him kicking it deep so we did that to surprise them and we executed it perfectly.”
“With the offense that they have where they like to run right at you, we wanted to keep them off the field. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get back on the field and mount something. It was a great call. It was a swing in momentum, definitely,” Altomare remarked.
The Eagles added two more touchdowns in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Lincoln Urmson with 6:34 left in the first half, followed by a 38-yard scamper by Knight down the left sideline to push the Eagles advantage to 28-0 with only 1:39 before halftime.
A 3-yard run by Urmson on the Eagles’ opening possession of the second half made it 35-0 and began the running clock. The score came at the 10:03 mark of the third quarter.
Giovanni Estrada helped the Blue Devils avoid a shutout with just 1:46 remaining in the contest when he hauled in a 4-yard pass from Siefke. The drive covered 35 yards on seven plays.
“We take positives out of this game and how the whole season has progressed,” Altomare said. “Every game we go into, there are more kids on the other sideline than ours. We are under numbered, undersized, and under-aged with experience. So I’m very proud of them.”
The Blue Devils, who fall to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the EOAC, will host the Columbiana Clippers next Friday to close the season.
LISBON: 0- 0-0-6– 6
U -Nick Hardgrove 10 pass from Grant Knight (Luke Courtney kick)
U-Caden Marshall 2 run (Courtney kick)
U-Lincoln Urmson 2 run (Courtney kick)
U-Knight 38 run (Courtney kick)
U-Urmson 3 run (Courtney kick)
L-Giovanni Estrada 4 pass from Trevor Seifke (kick failed)
First downs 18 5
Total Yards 319 69
Rushes-yards 41-304 13-3
Passing 15 66
Comp-Att-Int 2-10-0 10-19-0
Punts-Avg. 2-35.5 6-34.83
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-52 5-28
RUSHING–United, Grant Knight 8-119, Lincoln Urmson 6-61, Caden Marshall 9-50, Ward Kiko 4-31, Cody Cope 4-25; Lisbon, Ryan Stauffer 6-21.
PASSING–United, Grant Knight 2-10-15-1-0; Lisbon, Trevor Seifke 10-21-66-1-0.
RECEIVING–United, Hayden Castro 1-10, Logan Castro 1-5; Lisbon, Giovanni Estrada 7-48, Austin Dailey 2-15, Ryan Stauffer 1-3.