MONROE — Eaton’s football team knew the situation heading into its Week 10 showdown at Monroe.
Win and you’re in the playoffs
Lose and the season is most likely over.
“We usually don’t focus on the outcome but this week was different,” Eaton coach Brad Davis said. “We wanted the guys to know exactly what was on the line in hopes of adding a little extra motivation throughout the week. ‘Win and in’ was the message.”
Eaton used that motivation to knock of the host Hornets 13-7 in overtime on Friday, Oct. 21 to secure a spot in the Division IV, Region 16 playoffs.
“We had a great week of preparation and I thought we played really hard, I loved our fight and were able to win the game,” he said. “I’m really proud of the coaching staff and the players, really happy for our seniors to have a Week 11.”
The Eagles almost didn’t get that chance.
With the game tied a 7-7 Monroe drove inside the Eaton 5-yard line and appeared set to kick the game-winning field with just seconds left in the game.
But senior Danny Caldwell, who scored a touchdown in the first quarter and the game winning touchdown in overtime, broke through the Monroe line and blocked the kick to send the game into overtime.
“They (Monroe) put together a great drive, convert some third and fourth downs. (The game comes down to a field goal – basically an extra point,” Davis said. “We took a timeout and drew up a little scheme but really it just came down to our guys fighting. We had to block the field goal and we did. It was an unbelievable effort by everyone on that unit. Danny Caldwell was the one that got a hand on it. A lot of extra credit to Devon Rader too for continuing to play through the block. One of their guys scooped it up and he made the tackle. Great awareness and understanding by Devon in that situation.”
Eaton took its opening drive and went down the field and scored to take a 7-0 lead on a Caldwell TD run.
Early in the fourth, Monroe tied the game after taking advantage of an Eaton turnover.
In overtime, Eaton chose to play defense first.
Eaton forced Monroe out of field goal range and the Hornets had to go for it on fourth and long.
Senior Brady Rice nearly sacked the quarterback as he forced an incomplete pass.
Eaton’s offense then drove to the Monroe 1-yard line but failed to score on third down. Davis opted to go for the touchdown on fourth down and run behind his senior linemen who opened enough of a hole for Caldwell to get into the end zone.
“Again, just a hard-fought game and we’re happy to extend the season into week 11,” Davis said. “Our mindset will really be the same as last week. It’s a 1-week season from here on out.”
Eaton (6-4, 4-3 SWBL) is the No 14 seed and will travel to No. 3 Middletown Bishop Fenwick on Friday, Oct. 28 for Division IV, Region 16 playoff game.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr.