EATON — For the third straight season, Eaton’s football season ended with a loss to Cin. Archbishop McNicholas.
The Rockets’ big-play capability did in the Eagles, as they scored five of their six touchdowns on plays over 35 yards en route to a 41-20 win over Eaton in the first round of the OHSAA Division IV, Region 20 playoffs on Friday, Oct. 27.
With the loss Eaton, which qualified for the playoffs for the fourth straight season, ended the season with an 8-3.
“A big part of our game plan was to eliminate their big plays. Obviously, we didn’t meet that goal,” Eaton coach Brad Davis said.
After an Eaton turnover on the first possession, McNicholas scored on its third offensive play on an 81-yard TD pass for a 7-0 lead.
Jon Hewitt made it a 7-3 game with a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter.
The Rockets added a 72-yard TD pass with 7:02 left in the first half then added a 48-yard run for a TD with 4:54 left in the half to take a 21-3 lead.
Eaton’s Brayden Deem gave the Eagles life when he returned the ensuing kickoff for a 98-yard touchdown to close the gap to 21-10.
After forcing the Rockets to punt, Eaton added another field as Hewitt added his name to the state record book with a 57-yard field goal with1:06 left in the half.
The field goal ties for the fifth longest in state history.
McNicholas added to its lead on the first possession of the second half with a 35-yard TD pass.
After another Eaton drive ended with a punt, the Rockets scored on a 35-yard TD pass to extend their lead to 35-13 with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Eaton’s next drive ended with a turnover and the Rockets took advantage, scoring on 12-yard TD pass with 9:08 left in the game.
Eaton’s lone second half score came with 5:31 left on a 4-yard TD pass from quarterback Chris Atkins to Leslie Orr.
Atkins finished the game completing 16-of-25 passes. Cordis Berard rushed for 48 yards on 11 carries and Orr led the team with eight catches for 82 yards.
“We did a lot of good things, didn’t capitalize on all of the opportunities and just made some mental errors that quite honestly we hadn’t done most of the year,” Davis said. “So, unfortunate timing to have those come out versus a good team. They took advantage of it.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on X @emowenjr.