CINCINNATI — Brad Davis is never one to make excuses and Friday (Nov. 4), after his Eaton football team bowed out of the playoffs with a 24-0 loss to No. 6 seed Cincinnati Archbishop McNicholas in the Division IV, Region 16 quarterfinals, was no different.
“We got beat by a better team tonight. We didn’t do what we needed to do. I think we had some opportunities,” Davis said. “Defensively, we didn’t do a good enough job in the first half on third down. Just couldn’t really get the offense going when we needed to certain times there in the second half.”
Davis and the No. 14 seeded Eagles, who upset No. 3 seed Fenwick 31-28 last week, entered their second-round playoff game shorthanded with several starters, on both sides of the ball, on the sidelines with injuries.
“The guys that played, played their hearts out,” Davis said of the younger players who stepped in and gave a solid effort. “Some of those guys got the call pretty late in the week but we’re not going to make excuses. The guys played hard, and injuries are part of sports unfortunately. It wasn’t our night tonight.”
McNicholas took the opening drive of the game went 80 yard in just over four minutes to take a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard touchdown run by Ty Snyder.
After and Eaton punt, the Rockets added a 35-yard field by Rollie Gabriel with 10:15 left in the first half for a 10-0 lead.
Eaton had the ball three more times in the half. Those drives resulted in a punt, an interception and taking a knee to end the half.
The Eagle began the second half with the ball and was forced to punt again.
McNicholas responded with a 78-yard TD pass from Braden Bobo to Ethan Gardner for a 17-0 lead with 9:19 left in the third.
Eaton’s offense then put together a solid drive but stalled once again, and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs after reaching the McNicholas 24-yard line.
The Rockets followed with another big play.
A 49-yard TD pass from Bobo to Snyder extended the lead to 24-0 with 1:01 left in the third.
In the fourth, Eaton’s offense continued to struggle as it turned the ball over on downs three more times.
The Eagles finished with just 153 yards of offense on the night, while the Rockets racked up 310 yards.
Davis told his team he was proud of the way they competed and was thankful for what the senior class had done during its time wearing the Purple and Gold.
“Obviously proud of our senior class,” he said of the nine-player class. “The finality of this sport it’s just, it’s unbelievable. I think it’s unlike anything else. Our kids played hard. They left it on the field.”
Davis said his players will be able, at some point, to look back on the season and realize what they accomplished.
“It’s hard right now,” he said. “I did tell them at some point, it’s not going to be right now, but at some point, they’ll look back at the season, see the ups and downs, the adversity that we went through as a team, and they’ll be proud of the season but now it’s just not that time. This is just an emotional time certainly, for the seniors as well as everybody but we’ll get there at some point.”
Eaton, making its third straight playoff appearance, finished the season 7-5.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr.