PREBLE COUNTY — Eaton’s playoff hopes were dashed by Graham while National Trail and Twin Valley South both fell in their returns to non-playoff games.
Eaton falters in fourth quarter against Graham 28-14
The Eagles stuck with St. Paris Graham in the Division IV, Region 16 matchup, but mistakes in the fourth quarter ended Eaton’s playoff run as they fell to the Falcons 28-14.
After blocking a field goal on Graham’s opening drive, the Eagles took the lead on a 90-yard drive, which Eaton coach Brad Davis called one of their most complete drives of the season, capped off by a goal-line touchdown by senior Dawson Blaylock to give Eaton a 7-0 lead.
The teams would go on to trade punts and interceptions into the second quarter, where Graham eventually broke through on a two long passing plays resulting in a touchdown, though the extra point was missed, leaving Eaton with a slim 7-6 lead.
On Graham’s next drive, the Eagles were called for pass interference on an interception by senior Trevor Long, negating the turnover that would’ve given Eaton the ball in Falcon territory.
However, Long would intercept the Falcons again later in the drive, this time at Eaton’s 2-yard line, though the Eagles would then run the clock out on the first half.
To start the second half, Eaton would punt the ball, but a forced fumbled by senior Ethan Howard was recovered by junior Breyden Boston to give Eaton the ball at midfield.
Junior Ashton Geoit would later find the end zone on the drive to give Eaton a 14-6 lead.
“Offensively, overall, we probably played well enough to win,” Davis said. “Take away a couple series – obviously the interception – and I liked the way we executed for the most part. Too many negative plays on first down, but ran the ball when we needed to and had some good passing combinations as well.”
On Graham’s responding drive, the Falcons came out in what Davis described as an “unconventional formation,” resulting in another passing TD for the Falcons. They attempted a successful 2-point conversion to tie things up at 14.
Entering the fourth quarter with the ball, Eaton was forced to punt on the drive, and on Graham’s ensuing drive, the Falcons drove 95 yards for a rushing TD, taking their first lead of the game 21-14.
After the touchdown, the Falcons attempted an onside kick that Davis said the Eagles were prepared for, but Graham executed better on, and the Falcons recovered.
The next play resulted in another passing TD to make it 28-14. The Eagles turned the ball over on downs, and Graham was then able to run out the clock.
“We had chances and didn’t take full advantage,” Davis said. “We could have knocked them out of the game at a couple different times but allowed them to hang around. We have to put teams away, especially teams capable of striking quickly.”
The Eagles will continue their season as they host Greenville this Friday at 7 p.m.
Trail’s comeback attempt against Miami East falls short 35-28
The Blazers scored 16 points in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to overcome Miami East as Trail fell 35-28 this past weekend.
The Blazers got on the board first after a fumbled by senior Dallas Smith near Miami East’s goal line was recovered by senior Jacob Ray in the end zone for a touchdown, but the extra point was missed, making it 6-0.
The Vikings responded on the next drive with a 10-yard passing TD to take the 7-6 lead, and just minutes later, scored again to make it 14-6.
Trail was looking to take a close deficit into the locker room after Ray scored a 1-yard rushing TD with 2:40 left in the half, but the Vikings found the end zone again with just 46 seconds remaining in the first half to make it 21-12.
As the third quarter wound down, the Vikings punched it in again to make it 28-12, and early in the fourth quarter, ran it in from nine yards out to make it 35-12 with 9:20 to go.
Looking to get back into the game, Smith found senior Sharvezz Carter for a 25-yard TD, and the ensuing 2-point conversion was good to make it 35-20 and help close the gap.
On Trail’s next drive, Smith connected for another 25-yard TD, this time with senior Clay Stiner, and connected on another 2-point conversion to make it 35-28 with 34 seconds remaining, but the onside kick was recovered by Miami East to end the comeback bid.
National Trail will travel to face Tri-County North this week, who fell last week to Ansonia in the playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Twin Valley South loses close contest to Dixie 27-21
The Greyhounds jumped out to an early 13-0 lead, but the Panthers fought to keep it 19-7 at the half.
South would find the end zone twice more throughout the game, but a touchdown and 2-point conversion by Dixie with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter would prove too large a deficit to overcome as the Panthers fell 27-21.
Looking to rebound from the loss, South will host Bethel this weekend at 7 p.m.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles