TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — One quarter can make all the difference.
The Eastern football team held visiting Huntington Ross scoreless in the first quarter, but surrendered 28 points in the second period and eventual fell 35-0 in a non-conference contest at East Shade River Stadium in Meigs County.
The Eagles (0-1) appeared strong defensively in the first quarter, halting a 13-play, 47-yard drive with 2:53 remaining in the opening quarter when EHS senior Sharp Facemyer intercepted Huntington quarterback Elijah McCloskey.
The Huntsmen (1-0), however, broke the scoreless tie on their next possession as McCloskey connected with Seth Beeler on a 23-yard scoring toss at the 11:13 mark of the second period. The extra-point kick by Beeler was good and HHS took a 7-0 lead following the four-play, 50-yard drive.
Huntington tacked on its second touchdown of the contest just 3:03 later as Dustin Baker scored on a four-yard scamper and Beeler added a successful point-after kick to extend the deficit to 14-0.
Baker added his second rushing touchdown of the contest with 6:06 remaining in the second quarter, scoring on a five-yard run. Beeler’s third successful extra-point kick of the game propelled the Huntsmen to a 21-0 lead following the four-play, 31-yard drive.
HHS scored its fourth touchdown of the second frame with 1:02 remaining when McCloskey tossed a 13-yard scoring pass to Beeler. Beeler again added the extra-point as the visitors amassed a 28-0 lead following the six-play, 72-yard drive.
Eastern appeared to be on its way to answering the Huntsmen score when play resumed in the third quarter. EHS manufactured its longest drive of the contest following intermission — 12 plays for 45 yards — but were halted on fourth down at the Huntsmen 41-yard line.
Huntington widened the margin on the following possession, as McCloskey tossed a 57-yard scoring pass to Darious Brown at the 4:42 mark of the third quarter. Beeler’s fifth extra-point kick of the contest provided the HHS with a 35-0 advantage. That score also resulted in a continuous clock the rest of the way, per the Ohio rule about 30-point leads in the second half.
Eastern and Huntington both were held scoreless in the finale, as the Huntsmen closed out the 35-point victory.
With the setback, the Eagles remain without having started the season with a win since 2004, when they topped visiting South Gallia by a 41-6 mark.
Both teams committed one turnover apiece in the contest. The hosts were flagged five times for 30 yards, while the visitors were penalized nine times for 60 yards.
Isaiah Fish led the Eagles with 47 yards rushing, while also completing 3-of-9 passes for 32 yards.
Four different Eastern players caught at least one pass in the setback, Sharpe Facemyer leading with two grabs for 20 yards.
EHS also had four of the five punts in the contest.
“I think we played hard,” EHS head coach Pat Newland said following the game. “We just made some mistakes. We were playing pretty even with them through the first quarter. Offensively, we just couldn’t handle their defensive line — they were just a lot bigger than us. It’s difficult when you can’t get anything going offensively because when you’re backed up, sooner or later bad things happen on defense.
“We didn’t quit. We came out and had a good drive to start the second half. The main thing is nobody quit playing. We are going to have to get a lot better at fundamentals. The main strengths I can take away from this game is the kids still played until the final whistle. We had good effort the entire game. We just need to translate effort into doing the right things.”
Next up for the Green and Gold, a road date with Caldwell on Thursday.
Scott Jones can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext 2106.