EATON — The last two games have been rough for the Eaton football team’s defense.
After allowing Brookville to rush for almost 550 yards two weeks ago in a 55-28 loss, the Eagle defense gave up over 400 more yards rushing on Friday night (Oct. 21) to visiting Carlisle, and the end result was the same.
Eaton dropped a 42-7 decision in a Southwestern Buckeye League Crossover football game.
The loss was the fourth straight for the Eagles, who fell to 2-7 overall.
The game didn’t exactly start the way Eaton wanted, as Carlisle’s DJ Chambers returned the opening kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown to give his team the lead less than 20 seconds into the game.
From there, the Indians used a punishing ground game to subdue Eaton. Carlisle only attempted three passes during the game, but rushed for 443 yards on 44 attempts.
“About the worst start we could have hoped for,” Eaton coach Brad Davis said. “We knew number three (Chambers) was a dynamic player and we wanted definitely to stay away from him on the kick game. We squib it and it takes a funny hop and ends up down his way and we don’t do a great job with our coverage.”
Davis said at that point there was plenty of time for his team to regroup.
“So we’re starting off in a hole, but there is still plenty of game left at that point,” he said.
The kickoff return was the first of several long scoring plays for the Indians.
Carlisle (7-2) scored on plays of 94, 43 and 54-yards.
“Just throughout the game we didn’t do a great job at the line of scrimmage. They won the line of scrimmage battle,” Davis said.
The Indians’ second score came when it looked like Eaton had them back up near their own goal line. But seldom-used Zayne Hart, who had 36 carries for 261 yards on the season, broke free for a 94-yard touchdown run to give Carlisle a 14-0 lead.
Carlisle running back Ridge Reed didn’t play after the first quarter due to an injury and Chambers missed the second half with an apparent ankle injury.
Hart, who rushed for two other scores, finished the night with 18 carries for 230 yards.
Eaton responded with a big play of its own when quarterback Lew Bowser connected with Ghye Wilson for a 43-yard touchdown pass to cut the Indians lead to 14-7 with 6:37 to play in the first half.
Bowser was 15-for-29 for 224 yards passing and rushed nine times for 41 yards. Wilson caught seven passes for 155 yards. Caleb Puckett added 100 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Just over a minute later, Hart scored on a 43-yard run for a 21-7 lead with 5:14 to play.
Chambers capped the scoring in the first half with a 7-yard touchdown run with :19 left, to give his team a 28-7 lead.
Hart scored his third touchdown of the night on a 54-yard run with 5:15 to play in the third, and Spencer Mays closed out the scoring with a 2-yard run with 6:28 left in the game.
The game marked the final home game for seniors Conner Gowanny, Kevin Melling, Donnie Nicodemus, Braydon Shanefelt, Vaughn Welcome, Bowser and Wilson.
“We told them it was going to be an emotional day for them,” Davis said. “They’ve spent so much time on this field and for the program. Their time here has been up and down. They’ve encountered a ton of adversity. It’s not much consolation, but we try to tell them that’s going to mean something in the future. It’s hard to have that sink in at this point. They’re a great bunch of guys and they work hard and we love them.”
Eaton will look to snap its losing streak next week when it travels to Valley View on Friday, Oct. 28.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.