EATON — If there was any doubt about just how much Eaton’s football program has improved over the past few seasons, Friday’s win over Bellbrook should erase most of that doubt.
Eaton, which had lost four straight games to Bellbrook by a combined score of 149-13, knocked off the visiting Golden Eagles in front of an energetic home crowd, 21-20.
“A huge win. A good statement win for us,” Eaton coach Brad Davis said. “We knew this was going to be a measuring stick game and the outcome shows that we’re pretty good football team.”
After Bellbrook scored with just over three minutes remaining in the game to make it a 21-20 game, Eaton made the play of the game on the extra-point attempt.
A high snap allowed Eaton to get a push up the middle and from the edge allowing senior Breyden Boston to block the kick to keep the home team in front.
From there, Eaton was able to run out the clock and improve to 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in the SWBL’s West Division. With the win, Eaton is off to its best start since the 2010 season.
“Our philosophy is every play matters, every point matters,” Davis said. “[We] got a nice push. I’d like to think we had something to do with the high snap there – bad hold, low kick, so finally one went in our favor there.”
Eaton took a 7-0 lead late in the first half. After an Eaton punt from Theo Winings pinned Bellbrook at their own one, Eaton forced a turnover on the next play with Reid Tinstman recovering a fumble at the Bellbrook one.
Senior Aiden Williams (25 carries, 89 yards) followed with a one-yard touchdown run.
Eaton opened the second half with a nine-play drive, which began near midfield after a long kickoff return from Josh Martin. The drive was capped by Williams’ second touchdown run of the game to put Eaton ahead 14-0.
Bellbrook responded with 14 unanswered points.
“They’re a really good football team. We knew, being up there, we knew they were going to come out and be fired up,” Davis said. “It’s a difficult scheme, they have really good skill guys, really good guys blocking. So it was no surprise that they kind of rebounded there. We just had to do whatever we could to kind of stop that momentum. I don’t know if we ever stopped it but luckily time ran out and we had more points than they did.”
Early in the fourth, Eaton drove to inside the Bellbrook 10-yard-line, but fumbled the ball away.
The Eagles’ defense, though, came up with a key play as Martin intercepted a pass at the Bellbrook 15-yard-line.
Eaton quarterback Brock Ebright, who finished 13-for-17 for 185 yards, then found Martin in the end zone for touchdown pass to regain the lead at 21-14 setting the stage for the final minutes.
“Just a good, gritty team win. Our play makers stepped up when they needed to and we’re just really proud of the team,” Davis said. “I’m not quite ready to say [we’re] back, but we’re 1-0 this week, so we’re pretty happy about that.”
Eaton, ranked No. 6 in the first AP Division IV state poll released Monday, Sept. 13, will take its unbeaten mark on the road this week when it travels to undefeated Waynesville on Friday, Sept. 17.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr