MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Eastern established itself throughout the game as the Eagles disrupted South Gallia in a surprise 26-21 decision at South Gallia’s Homecoming on Friday Night in a Week 5 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division match-up at Rebel Field.
In the first quarter, both teams held the pigskin for three possessions each. Landon Hutchinson of South Gallia (2-3, 1-2 TVC Hocking) fumbled the ball on its own 33-yard line and Eastern (2-3, 2-1) had a loss of downs from the fumble recovery, the ending result was a scoreless first quarter.
In the second quarter, Josh Brewer of EHS rushed for a 15-yard touchdown and an unsuccessful PAT by Jett Facemyer gave the Green and Gold a 6-0 lead at the 4:53 mark in the second quarter.
With 2:39 remaining in the second quarter, Landon Hutchinson connected a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kane Hutchinson and a failed two-point conversion, the Rebels tied the ball game at 6-6.
With 1:29 left in the first half, Jett Facemyer rushed for a 56-yard touchdown and a successful two-point conversion pass from Jett Facemyer to Cameron Richmond, giving Eastern a 14-6 lead headed into halftime.
At the 3:51 mark into the third quarter, Landon Hutchinson rushed for a 32-yard touchdown and a successful two-point conversion pass from Landon Hutchinson to Kane Hutchinson, the Red and Gold brought the score to a 14-14 tie.
With 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Jett Facemyer connected a 26-yard touchdown pass to Nate Durst and an unsuccessful PAT, the Eagles regained the lead to 20-14.
Sharp Facemyer picked off a pass from Landon Hutchinson and returned to the house. Following the unsuccessful PAT with 26 seconds remaining, EHS held a 26-14 lead at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Rebels made some head-way with Landon Hutchinson rushing for a one-yard touchdown and a successful PAT by AJ Woodall, the Rebels trailed the Eagles 26-21 with 3:38 remaining in the game.
The Red and Gold defense stood up and forced the Eagles to a three-and-out and regained the possession of the ball at their own 37-yard line with 2:43 remaining in the game. South Gallia quickly marched the pigskin down the field and as time is running out, the Green and Gold defense courageously forced the Rebels in a loss of downs on Eastern’s 30-yard line.
Afterwards, EHS coach Pat Newland was pleased with the result — particularly in the latter moments of Friday’s contest.
“That defensive stance just shows you how tough these guys are. Hats off to them. They just played great,” Newland said. “We grew up a lot. We talked about in practice that we are in Week 5 and we are not having any more excuses of being a young team. We make some mistakes. We are varsity football players, and they stepped up and accepted the challenge.”
South Gallia coach Jason Peck, on the other hand, acknowledged that outside of his disappointment in the decision, Eastern didn’t do anything that was planned for.
“We knew it was going to be an issue where Eastern’s line is older, more mature, bigger and stronger than our line. We knew it was going to be an issue. We just didn’t get it taken care of enough,” Peck said. “We just weren’t ready for it and hopefully we can prepare better and make enough changes this week and move on.”
Jett Facemyer led the Eagles in passing with a 7-for-20 effort for 134 yards and one touchdown. Facemyer also led Eastern in rushing with 23 carries for 108 yards and one touchdown.
Cameron Richmond led the Green and Gold in receiving with three receptions for 83 yards. The Eagles had a total of 307 yards of offense, 18 first downs and seven penalties for 63 yards.
Landon Hutchinson led the Rebels in passing with a 9-for-21 effort for 143 yards to go with one touchdown and three interceptions. Hutchinson also led the team in rushing with 21 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Geiger had 14 touches for 51 yards.
Geiger led the Red and Gold in receiving with five receptions for 74 yards. Kane Hutchinson had four receptions for 69 yards and one touchdown. The Rebels had a total of 331 yards of offense, 16 first downs and nine penalties for 75 yards.
Both teams return to TVC Hocking action next Friday as SGHS travels to Belpre and Eastern hosts Waterford. Both Week 6 games kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
J.P. Davis is a sports correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing.