GREENVILLE — Too many penalties and too many missed opportunities left Eaton football coach Brad Davis feeling like his team let one slip away.
Eaton committed eight penalties, some in crucial moments, in suffering a 13-6 setback Friday, Aug. 31, in the season opener at Greenville.
Eaton won the opening toss and elected to have Greenville receive the opening kickoff only to have the decision go in Greenville’s favor with Marcus Wood making an over the shoulder catch at the Wave 11 and returning the kick to the Eagles 13-yard line setting up the game’s first score.
Facing a third and 14, Greenville senior quarterback Tyler Beyke scrambled for a 10-yard carry setting up a fourth and four for the Wave.
Beyke hit Wave senior John Butsch with a seven-yard TD strike at 10:41 in the opening period. The point after try was good to give Greenville a 7-0 lead.
“Obviously, not a great start but still plenty of game to settle in and play,” Davis said.
On their second possession, the Eagles moved the ball 50-yards in five plays to the Wave 3-yard line. Looking at a first and goal from the three, Eaton quarterback Dawson Blaylock was tackled for a loss. After an incomplete pass on second down, Eaton faced a third and goal from the five.
With Blaylock back to throw, Tony Sells and Haydn Sharp sacked the Eagles quarterback for a 3-yard loss setting up a failed Eaton field goal attempt from 23-yards keeping the Wave’s 7-0 lead intact where the score would stand after one period of play.
“We have to punch it in in that situation,” Davis said. “We did not take advantage of the opportunity.”
An Eaton roughing the kicker penalty at the Greenville 32 gave the home team a new set of second quarter downs. A visitor’s face mask penalty moved the ball to the Eaton 41-yard marker. Facing a fourth and six at the 7-yard line, Greenville elected to attempt a field goal. Ethan Flanery drilled a 24-yard field goal moving the Wave out to a 10-0 advantage on a 73-yard 18-play drive.
Eaton battled back on an 80-yard, 10-play drive using up 4:09 on the clock with Jarod Lee carrying 14-yards for a touchdown to make it a 10-6 game. With the Eagles PAT kick missing the mark, the teams went to halftime with the Green Wave holding a slim 10-6 advantage.
Second half play was a defensive battle between the teams with Greenville getting the lone score of the second half, a third period 30-yard Flanery field goal at 2:03 giving the Wave a 13-6 lead.
Eaton took one final possession of the night beginning at their own 34-yard line only to have Blaylock sacked for a 17-yard loss on a first down play after a bad snap. On second down, Eaton tossed an incomplete pass and another sack set up fourth and long.
A fourth down Eagles desperation pass missed the mark ending any chance for comeback.
“Too many penalties and missed opportunities. Credit to Greenville for forcing some of our mistakes and negative yardage plays but we certainly didn’t help ourselves out any,” Davis said. “I feel like we let one slip away.”
Lee finished the game with 119 yards rushing on 17 attempts with a touchdown. He also led the team with 11 tackles.
Blaylock completed 12 of 24 passes for 131 yards. Josh Martin caught five passes for 70 yards.
Eaton (0-1) will continue its non-league schedule this Friday (Sept. 6) when it hosts Xenia. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH