LEES CREEK — Neither rain, nor storms, nor a former Kenton Trace Conference rival were going to stop East Clinton’s football team from a second straight victory.
The Astros improved to 2-0 for the first time in six years by defeating Cedarville 27-7 on a stormy Friday night at ECHS.
After East Clinton took a 6-0 lead, the game was delayed by lightning for 1 hour, 19 minutes. When the game resumed, the Astros forced a missed field goal from CHS and took over on their own 20.
“It’s hard on both teams when you have to take that long of a break,” EC head coach Steve Olds said. “We’re really proud of the effort.”
Cedarville (0-2) got the ball right back after a fumbled exchange one play later. It took just three plays for CHS to take the lead when Max Pollander found Jackson Howdyshell for a 10-yard touchdown pass. The extra point put Cedarville on top 7-6.
While Astro quarterback Jared Smith did damage running and passing the ball, it was his right leg that swung the momentum back to EC.
Following a 3-and-out early in the second, Smith was set to punt from his own 30. He got a good snap from long snapper Maddix Crowe and hit a line drive that split the two Cedarville returners.
The ball hydroplaned across the wet turf and settled at the CHS 11. The 59-yard punt switched the field position and the momentum.
“We talked about at halftime that when it’s this wet, it’s going to be the little plays that you have to make to be successful,” Olds said. “I thought the snap – he’s our backup snapper – for Maddix to get that ball off right there and for Jared to boot it off the way he did with the kick, those are winning football plays.”
Two players later, Cedarville fumbled and EC recovered. Smith then punished Cedarville with his arm, finding Jaden Singleton for a 10-yard touchdown pass. The two hooked up on the conversion as well, and EC never trailed again.
Isaiah Conger was too much for the CHS defense to handle. The junior tailback ran around and through the Cedarville defense all night. He finished with 168 yards rushing on 20 carries and two touchdowns, including a 60-yard scamper.
“Isaiah ran his butt off,” Olds said.
Smith finished with 54 yards rushing on 13 carries and 17 yards passing, with two combined touchdowns.
East Clinton will look for its first 3-0 start since 2004. That team opened the season 9-0 before falling to Clinton-Massie in week 10. The Astros rebounded to advance to the Region 20 finals before succumbing to eventual state champion St. Henry.
“I think we’re still in that stage where we’re trying to keep things week-to-week,” Olds said. “Our kids’ attitudes are great. I think they’re playing for each other, and that’s a big deal for us. To be 2-0 with a chance to be 3-0 next week is a big deal for us.”
Friday, August 27, 2021
At East Clinton High School
East Clinton 27, Cedarville 7
EC – Isaiah Conger 60-yard run (pass failed) 7:31
C – Max Pollander 10-yard pass to Jackson Howdyshell (Howdyshell kick) 10:55
EC – Jared Smith 11-yard pass to Jaden Singleton (Smith to Singleton pass) 5:30
EC – Conger 5-yard run (kick failed) 10:26
EC – Smith 5-yard run (Lukas Runk kick) 2:55
PLAYS: C 37; EC 38. FIRST DOWNS: C 4; EC 12. RUSHES-YARDS: C 28-18; EC 33-222. PASSING YARDS: C 30; EC 17. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: C 4-8-1; EC 2-4-1. TOTAL YARDS: C 48; EC 239. PENALTIES-YARDS: C 3-30; EC 13-110. FUMBLES-LOST: C 2-2; EC 2-1.
Rushing (carries-yards): C Mason Bowen 3-3; Arman Walker 1-2; Max Pollander 15-7; Jake Flora 2-(-3); Jackson Pyles 3-4; Jake Winter 3-3; Jackson Howdyshell 1-2. EC Isaiah Conger 20-168 2 TD; Jared Smith 13-54 TD.
Receiving (catches-yards): C Jake Flora 2-13; Tyler Cross 1-7; Jackson Howdyshell 1-10 TD. EC Jaden Singleton 1-10 TD; Landon Runyon 1-6.
Passing (completions-attempts-interceptions): C Max Pollander 4-8-1 30 yards TD. EC Jared Smith 2-4-1 17 yards TD.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.