Eastern wins first playoff game in Meigs county history over Shadyside

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REEDSVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) — It was a night to remember for the Eastern Eagles and Coach Jackson as they claimed a 34-6 victory in the first ever home playoff game in Meigs County history. 

“It gave me cold chills for them,” Coach Jackson said, in reference to his players’ accomplishment. 

The game got off to a slow start as the Tigers and Eagles traded punts on their opening drives, but Lance Hensler returned Shadyside’s punt for 32 yards to put the Eagles on the Tigers’ 33 yard line. From there, Gavin Smith and Rylee Barrett pounded away at Shadyside’s defense and Barrett punctuated the drive with a five yard score to put Eastern ahead 7-0. 

After both offenses got stuck in neutral for the remainder of the second quarter, the Eagles offense exploded out of the gates in the second quarter as their first play from scrimmage was a 40 yard gallop by Rylee Barrett to put Eastern at the one. With that prime field position Brady Yonker did the rest, punching it in with a one yard quarterback sneak to extend the Eagles lead to 14-0. 

After another Shadyside punt, the Eagles’ Yonker combined with Gavin Murphy for 18 yards to puncture deep into Tigers’ territory on an 18 yard pass that put Eastern on the Shadyside 31. From that point, the drive had Gavin Murphy’s fingerprints all over it. Three consecutive carries by Murphy moved the Eagles to the six yard line. Two plays later, Yonker connected with Murphy to build up Eastern’s lead to 21-0 going into halftime. 

Defense would be the name of the game in the 3rd quarter as both defenses silenced any and all offense momentum. Despite a promising drive for the Tigers, seeing quarterback Ben Wach drive them all the way to the Eastern twelve, Shadyside would be forced to turn it over on downs to after Wach was sacked on fourth and two as hopes of Shadyside mounting a second half rally became more strained. 

Breaking from their offensive rut, the Eagles started to claw away at the Shadyside defense. In the first drive of the fourth quarter, Brady Yonker converted a vital third and seven run to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Gavin Smith broke away for 17 yards to soar into the endzone and ended the hopes of a Shadyside comeback. 

For the Tigers, they extended their streak of playoff appearances to 18, but their playoff run ends with this loss. With this victory, Eastern advances to the Regional Quarterfinals, and will look to get revenge for their early season defeat against the Waterford Wildcats.