MERCERVILLE, Ohio — Somebody had to get back on track.
The Eastern football team snapped a 4-game losing skid and handed host South Gallia its third consecutive shutout defeat on Friday night during a 46-0 decision in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Gallia County.
The Eagles (2-4, 1-1 TVC Hocking) were dominant on both sides of the ball as the guests had eight different players score while limiting the Rebels (0-6, 0-4) to just 100 yards of total offense.
In fact, SGHS didn’t manage its first first down of the contest until 2:30 remained in the opening half — and the Green and White were already ahead 21-0 by that time.
Three plays after the initial Red and Gold first down, EHS forced a fumble that was recovered by Brayden Smith. Nine plays, 70 yards and one 45-yard touchdown pass from Brady Yonker to Smith later on fourth-and-12, Eastern was able to secure a 27-point cushion headed into the break.
Outside of a fumble recovered by Tristan Saber on their second drive, the Eagles came away with points on their first, third and fourth drives of the first half.
Jayden Evans plunged in from four yards out with 9:05 left in the first for a quick 7-0 edge, then Ryan Ross added a 7-yard scamper for a 14-point advantage with 45.4 seconds left in the opening frame.
Bryce Newland tacked on a 5-yard run with 6:21 left in the half for a comfortable 21-0 cushion. Landon Randolph also tacked on three successful PAT boots in building that 21-point lead.
Newland added a second 5-yard touchdown run at the 2:52 mark of the third, then Collin Wilcoxen added a successful PAT kick for a 34-0 advantage headed into the finale.
Gavin Murphy picked off a Saber pass and returned it 89 yards to the house with 10:01 left in regulation for a 40-0 lead. Gavan Smith capped things off with an 11-yard scamper with 5:02 left to wrap up the 46-point outcome.
Eastern claimed a 21-8 advantage in first downs and also outgained the hosts by a sizable 385-100 overall margin in total yards of offense, including a 262-44 advantage on the ground. EHS was also plus-1 in turnover differential and scored 13 points off of its two takeaways.
Newland led the guests with 115 rushing yards on 21 carries, followed by Evans with 85 yards on 12 attempts. Yonker completed 7-of-14 passes for 123 yards, including a score and no picks.
Smith hauled in a team-high three catches for 57 yards. Anthony Reed also recorded a team-best two sacks for the victors.
Devin Siders paced the Rebels with 27 rushing yards on 11 totes, while Saber was 6-of-14 passing for 56 yards and an interception. Ean Combs led the SGHS wideouts with two catches for 32 yards.
Eastern is now 17-6 all-time against the Rebels in head-to-head play, including wins in the last seven contests.
South Gallia has now gone more than 14 quarters without scoring a single point, dating back to a Week 4 touchdown at the 6:10 mark of the second quarter against Southern.
It was senior night for SGHS, which honored Greg Davis, Devin Siders, Tristan Saber and Ean Combs before the game.
Eastern returns to TVC Hocking action Friday when it hosts Belpre. The Rebels travel to Albany for a non-conference matchup with Alexander. Both contests will start at 7 p.m.
© 2021 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.