LEES CREEK — Brian Barnes interception in the waning seconds allowed East Clinton to hold off Batavia 25-19 Friday night in the season opener at ECHS.
“The important thing is we’re 1-0,” said first-year varsity head coach Jeremy Yankey. “Even though we played poor at time, we got the win. There are some things we have to work on. Our tackling wasn’t very good. The coaching staff made some mistakes, but I cant fault them for their effort.”
East Clinton led 25-13 after three quarters but the Bulldogs scored a touchdown with 9:02 to play in the game.
Anthony Osburn had a big night for the Astros. The 5-8, 177-pound junior had three rushing touchdowns and an interception return for a touchdown.
Osburn opened the scoring with a 29-yard TD run in the first quarter. He then put EC up 12-7 late in the first quarter with his second TD run.
The Astros blocked a Batavia field goal to close the first half but trailed 13-12.
Osburn turned that around with a 37-yard touchdown run in the third period to make it 18-13 East Clinton.
The stout EC linebacker then came up with a Pick-6 to give the Astros a seemingly comfortable 25-13 advantage late in the third period.
But Batavia scored a touchdown late in the game and turned back the East Clinton offense to get the ball back one more time.
This time, it was Barnes, a 6-1, 178-pound senior, who came up with the interception that ended the Bulldogs last-ditch effort to tie the game. Stepping in front of the intended receiver, Barnes made the interception at the 26 yard line.
Barnes also had a key quarterback sack earlier in the fourth quarter to help thwart another BHS drive.
“This is the first time East Clinton’s won in week one since 2005,” said Yankey. “For this group of seniors, this is their third head coach, adapting to another new style.”
Reach Bill on Twitter @lierjet.