It wasn’t a victory on the scoreboard, but East Clinton football coach Steven Olds was pleased with his Astros in a 21-7 loss to Hillsboro last week.
“The fact that we had an opportunity to win that game is a big deal for us,” Olds said. “Very proud of the effort our guys gave and the physical style of football they played. They didn’t back down at all … they showed real heart and toughness on Friday.
“We said coming out of halftime that the first team to score would win the game. Our boys made them work for everything and in the end we just didn’t quite have enough. It was a great opportunity for our guys to grow and learn.”
Both teams played hard and there were numerous big hits on both sides of the ball. The Indians didn’t put the game away until the fourth quarter. Early in the game, both teams had post-play penalties but in the end Hillsboro had several in the final quarter, including ones that caused two players to be ejected.
“It was a snot bubble game, that’s for sure,” Olds said. “We felt like Hillsboro tried to push us around and be the more physical football team. Our guys, however, did well to match that physicality while at the same time not retaliating.”
This week, East Clinton travels to Highland County face the McClain Tigers. McClain won last year’s meeting 28-3 but East Clinton has won five of the last eight meetings. The last year the two teams did not meet was 2010, the last year East Clinton made the playoffs.
”McClain is improved,” said Olds. “In many ways, both technically and physically, they are very similar to Hillsboro. They had a big win (over Zane Trace) last week and scored 51 points in the process, so we will have our work cut out for us. It’s their homecoming as well, so we expect that they will be fired up and ready to go.”
Olds noted the play this season of freshman inside linebackers Ethan Kessler and Isaiah Conger.
”They led the team in tackles against Hillsboro,” he said. “They are tough young men who are only going to get better, so long as they continue to work hard and put in the work during the off season. Sophomore WR/OLB Jaden Singleton has played well on both sides of the ball as well, with an interception and a TD reception in the last two weeks.“