TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The Eagles only needed a half.
The Eastern football team scored all of its points before halftime on Friday night at East Shade River Stadium, as the Eagles topped Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Southern by a 42-0 tally.
Eastern (4-2, 3-1 TVC Hocking) — claiming its fourth straight win — needed just three plays and 1:11 to break the scoreless tie, as Brayden Smith found the end zone on a seven-yard run. Will Oldaker made his first of three consecutive point-after kicks, giving EHS a 7-0 lead.
Southern (1-5, 1-4) was picked off on its first possession, and EHS senior Conner Ridenour returned the interception 30 yards for a touchdown, making the Eagle lead 14-0, 2:55 into play.
Ridenour gave Eastern a 21-0 lead on its next drive, catching a 23-yard touchdown pass from Brady Yonker with 5:41 left in the first quarter.
With 2:34 remaining in the first, Blake Newland scored on a six-yard run. Brad Hawk made his first of three straight extra-point kicks, making the Eagle advantage 28-0.
The Tornadoes moved the chains for the first time at the end of the first quarter, and the guests made it as far the Eagle 23 before fumbling, with Will Oldaker recovering for the Eagles.
Three plays later, the hosts turned to Will Oldaker for a one-yard touchdown run, making the score 35-0 with 7:05 left in the first half.
The Tornadoes’ next punt pinned EHS back on its own one-yard line. After a one-yard run on first down, EHS senior Steve Fitzgerald broke a 97-yard run to the SHS one. Fitzgerald took then ball into the end zone on the next play, giving EHS a 42-0 lead with 1:37 left in the first half.
In the second half, the Eagle defense forced a pair of three-and-outs, while the EHS offense made it inside the Tornado five-yard line twice without adding on the 42-point margin.
The Eagles claimed a 14-to-4 advantage in first downs, and won the turnover battle by a 2-0 tally. EHS outgained Southern 393-to-89 in total offense, including 318-to-88 on the ground. SHS was penalized twice for 10 yards, while Eastern was sent back four times for 30 yards.
Fitzgerald led the Eagles with 158 yards and a touchdown on four carries, to go with one 17-yard reception. Brandon Oldaker ran nine times for 61 yards, Brayden Smith finished with 60 yards and a touchdown on three carries, while Colton Combs had five carries for 25 yards.
Blake Newland had one 28-yard catch and a six-yard touchdown run in the win, while Conner Ridenour caught one pass for 23 yards and a score. Preston Thorla came up with a seven-yard catch for the hosts, Rylee Barrett had a seven-yard run, while Will Oldaker had a one-yard touchdown run.
Brady Yonker — who ran once for five yards in the win — completed 4-of-9 pass attempts for 75 yards and a touchdown.
For Southern, Chase Bailey — who was 2-of-4 passing for one yard — led the way on the ground with 50 yards on 10 totes. Jonah Diddle had 19 yards on 10 carries and caught a one-yard pass, Josh Stansberry ran six times for 16 yards, while Brayden Otto picked up five yards on his only carry.
Next Friday, Eastern hosts Sciotoville East in the opening round of the Region 27 playoffs, while Southern travels to Beallsville for a regular season bout.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.