LEES CREEK – After nine games, the East Clinton Astro football team has yet to post a victory, but they did not play like a winless team Friday night when facing the 5-3 Clermont Northeastern Rockets.
CNE escaped with a 13-7 victory, but the Astros had them on the ropes. Twice in the fourth quarter, the Astros managed to get the ball inside the 10 but could not reach the end zone for the elusive score to tie the game.
“We simply made too many mistakes,” said a dejected EC head coach Mark Scovanner, on his way to the locker room after the contest. “I can’t fault the kids for their effort. They gave it all and played with intensity from the start.”
All the points came in the first half, but both teams slugged it out in the trenches throughout the entire game, knocking on the door to the end zone, but coming up just short.
Clermont Northeastern got on the board first, with a 10-play, 66-yard drive following an East Clinton interception. The Rockets’ Cole Joslin took it in from two yards out, and placekicker David Pride connected on the PAT giving the Rockets a 7-0 lead late in the opening quarter.
East Clinton was held deep inside the 10-yard line on the next drive, forcing punter Austin Arellano to attempt his punt from the backline of the end zone. It was a high snap and the kick was blocked by the Rockets, and CNE grabbed the loose football for their second touchdown of the game at the 10:09 mark of the second quarter. This time, kicker Pride’s attempt sailed wide, but the Rockets led 13-0.
East Clinton capitalized on a Rockets’ miscue for its first touchdown of the night. Todd Wedding recovered a CNE fumble inside the 20 and the Astros went to work moving the ball down field with just over 5:00 remaining until halftime. The Astros reached the end zone on a 35-yard pass reception from freshman quarterback Jared Smith to Tristen Burkitt, who caught the ball after it was tipped by a Rockets’ defender. He ran the final 20 yards to the end zone and Arellano’s PAT made it a 13-7 game going into halftime.
East Clinton put forth a strong defensive stand, halting a potential touchdown drive by the Rockets in the third quarter. Twice inside the 5 the Astros stopped the CNE ballcarrier short of the goal line, and on fourth and one, they stripped the ball away and recovered the fumble. East Clinton had a potential game-tying score, but was denied when Smith’s pass over the middle was intercepted by Joslin at the 5.
In the fourth quarter, the Astros put together a pair of drives which potentially could have tied the game, but again they came up short of crossing the goal line. Albert Cory picked off Smith’s pass at the 11:00 mark. Then after getting the ball to the Rockets 6, a Smith pass for Jaden Singleton came up inches short, as CNE took the ball over on downs.
CNE used the clock to their advantage on the ensuing drive, and successfully pulled off a fake punt by Dylan Gilley to get a first down in the closing minutes, and Rockets killed the clock to preserve the win.
Oct 19, 2018
@East Clinton High School
Clermont NE 13 East Clinton 7
CNE-Joslin, 2-yard run. Pride PAT kick good at 2:06.
CNE-Blocked punt. Pride PAT kick failed at 10:09.
ECHS—Burkitt, 35-yard pass from Jared Smith. Arellano PAT kick good at 1:43.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet