OAKWOOD — The Eaton Eagles football team dropped a Southwestern Buckeye League game to Oakwood, 41-34, on Friday, Oct. 7.
“We started off doing everything we needed to win, but they converted two turnovers into points which eventually led to our loss,” said Eaton coach Brad Davis.
The visiting Eagles scored early in the first quarter on a touchdown pass from Lew Bowser to Zac Schmidt on the opening possession. Eaton’s defense was up to the challenge of shutting down the Lumberjacks offense throughout the first quarter.
Eaton went up 14-0 early in the second quarter on a second passing touchdown from Bowser, this time to his favorite receiver, Ghye Wilson. Oakwood responded on the following possession, driving down the field in methodical fashion which ended with a quarterback sneak on short yardage to break the shut out at 14-7.
On the next possession, Eaton responded with a nice drive, capped off by Caleb Puckett, who ran in for Eaton’s third touchdown. The Eagles missed the extra point attempt, but led 20-7.
From there, each team turned the ball over on downs, Eaton having theirs ended inside the red zone before the break.
“We tweaked a few things at halftime,” said Davis. “We forced them to punt three times in the first half, they only put together one good drive so we didn’t feel the need to make big adjustments defensively. At this point, we wanted to just focus on finishing the second half for the win.”
The second half turned out to be quite different from the first. Eaton started the third quarter with good kickoff return close to midfield. Driving down into the Oakwood red zone, Eaton fumbled at the 10-yard line, recovered by a Lumberjack defender who returned the fumble 90 yards for a defensive touchdown. This made the score 20-14 in Eaton’s favor.
The Eagles gained another good kick return to midfield and made the most of it, as Bowser scored a touchdown pass to Wilson to notch the score up. Eaton went for a 2-point attempt which was a successful conversion thanks to a Bowser run, to lead 28-14.
“We were feeling good at that point, despite the big defensive touchdown that we gave up on,” said coach Davis. “We just needed to concentrate and do what was needed to win.”
On Oakwood’s turn, the Eagle defense gave up a big receiving touchdown in a short-lived drive, making the score 28-21. The following possession for Eaton was a second fumble that was also returned for touchdown by the Oakwood defense in much the same way as the first.
With the game now tied 28-28, Eaton was forced to punt on the next possession, but the punt was downed at the Oakwood 5-yard line. Some 95 yards and four plays later, the Lumberjacks scored again.
The last play had the pass tipped into the air by an Eaton defender, only to fall into an Oakwood receiver’s hands for the score. Oakwood took the lead 34-28 after a missed point-after attempt.
In the fourth quarter, Eaton scored its final touchdown of the night on a pass from Bowser to Wilson once again, but missed the extra point kick to tie it up, 34-34. Each team traded chances for the lead early in the fourth, but no points came from each drive. Later, Eaton gave up a big play on a blitz; the pass was caught and the Lumberjacks regained the lead.
On their last possession, the Eagles went 3-out. Oakwood ran the clock out to preserve the win.
“At no point did we ever feel like we were out of the game,” said Davis. “We pretty much did what we wanted to do but critical turnovers turned into 14 points for them. One of those drives really should have been a touchdown for us. We punted only once in the first half, three in the last 1 1/2 quarters. Their passing game was dictated by big plays. We were pleased overall in the execution of the rushing game. It was nice that Lew didn’t have to run as much as he normally had to.”
Bowser finished going 18-of-26, passing for 227 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Puckett had a career-best 33 carries for 163 yards and one touchdown. Wilson led the receiving effort with 10 catches for 142 yards and three scores, while Aaron Tolliver hauled in four catches for 24 yards. Zac Schmidt grabbed three passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Eaton is now in last place in the Southwestern Division of the SWBL, with a 1-3 league record, and 2-5 overall. Only three games remain in the regular season, with the next contest being a divisional battle, at home, on Friday, Oct. 14, against the Brookville Blue Devils.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH