As was expected the hard hitting contest came down to the running game of Wahama against the aerial attack of Eastern.
Before a packed house at East Shade River Stadium, the White Falcons pounded out 340 yards on the ground to remain unbeaten on the 2009 football season with a 5-0 mark. Lee scored on runs of one and 48 yards while finishing the evening with 129 yards in 11 carries.
Branch added touchdown runs of one and three yards and tallied 114 yards in 22 tries for the Bend Area grid team.
Eastern wasn't without its moments throughout the night with the Eagles riding the passing arm of Brayden Pratt to remain in contention to the very end.
The Eagles entered the contest with a 3-1 record and a three game winning streak before falling to 3-2 on the year. Despite the loss, Coach Dick Tipton's Eastern eleven served notice on the rest of the TVC that the Eagles will undoubtedly be one of the frontrunners to capture the Hocking Division title.
The host team wasted little time in getting on the board as Kelly Winebrenner returned the opening kickoff 76 yards to stake Eastern to a stunning 6-0 lead. Freddie Hernandez split the uprights with the point after kick to give the Eagles a 7-0 advantage just :13 into the game.
Wahama answered on its second possession of the night by marching 55 yards in eight plays with Branch doing most of the damage. Lee got the call and capped the drive by bulling his way in from a yard out with 4:49 remaining in the opening period. Tyler Kitchen knotted the score at 7-7 with the PAT boot.
The Eagles quickly marched down the field following the ensuing kickoff with Eastern going 87 yards in seven plays to regain the edge. Pratt tossed a 39 yard pass to Winebrenner and a 22 yard connection to Kyle Connery to set up an 11 yard scoring run by Klint Connery. Hernandez again added the extra point kick to give Eastern a 14-7 lead with 1:36 left in the first canto.
The White Falcons drove 70 yards in only six plays with Lee rambling 38 yards and 15 yards to highlight the series. Branch carried it in from a yard away on the second play of the second period to pull Wahama to within a point . The two point conversion attempt was unsuccessful and Eastern remained in front by a 14-13 margin with 11:30 left in the half.
WHS mounted a long, time consuming drive late in the quarter to gain its first lead of the night. The White Falcons opened its series at its own 20 and took 11 plays to cover the 80 yards. With the exception of a 12 yard pass from William Zuspan to Tyler Kitchen on the first play of the drive the Bend Area team stayed entirely on the ground with Eastern seeing a steady diet of Branch and Lee. Branch capped the series with a three yard run with Kitchen adding the extra point for a 20-14 Falcon lead.
Eastern threatened by driving deep into Wahama territory on three occasions during the second half but each time the Falcon defense stiffened to preserve the Bend Area teams one touchdown advantage.
The Eagles drove to the Falcons 24 on its first possession of the third quarter but a fourth down pass was picked off by Colin Pierce to end the threat. The hosts also marched to the Falcon 15 and inside the Wahama 30 but failed to come up with the big play that would propel Eastern into the end zone.
Lee ended the nights scoring activity with 10:40 remaining in the game when the junior running back burst through the middle for a 48 yard TD gallop. Again the Falcon try for the two point conversion proved unsuccessful leaving the final tally at 26-14.
Pratt finished the night by connecting on 17 of 32 passes for 135 yards. Kyle Connery caught six aerials for 62 yards while Winebrenner grabbed three for 52 and Mike Johnson three for 42. Winebrenner led Eastern on the ground with 71 yards in eight carries.
Wahama, at 5-0 on the year for the second straight season, will enjoy an open date next week before returning home for a homecoming bout with visiting Wirt County.
Eastern will try and get back on the winning track next week with a visit to TVC foe Trimble.