Second half spark leads Eastern to Regional Semifinal victory

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ZANESVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) — Last Friday, the Eastern Eagles won in dominating fashion against Monroe Central in their last game on their home field. As the teams narrowed down, and the competition got more fierce, neutral site competition would start. This culminated in a regional semi-final matchup against the River Pilots. River, who was 9-2 up to this point, stood as the toughest Ohio team they faced so far.  

The Pilots in the first few drives lived up to their title, outgaining the Eagles immensely. In the first quarter, Eastern’s usually dangerous rushing attack was stuck in neutral and stuffed by the Pilot’s defensive line. River would counter this with more offensive movement.  

River quarterback Kabel Isaly was able to make several big plays on foot and through the air. The Eagles, not used to playing pass-first offenses, allowed several big gains from the Pilots. Despite this, the game would be scoreless in the first half. River’s first offensive drive was going perfectly for the Pilots until Brandon Oldaker forced a fumble inside Eastern’s 20-yard line which was recovered by the Eagles. The two teams would stay off the scoreboard until midway through the second quarter when Isaly on fourth down would deliver a laser to Lucas Dennis in the endzone. The Pilots would end the first half on top 6-0.  

Going into the second half, Eastern flipped the script on the offensive end. At the end of the of the first half, Eastern was desperately driving down the field to try to score before the end of the half. While it ended with Ethan Edwards throwing an interception, it showed that Coach Jason Jackson was able to open the offense up that was previously stalling. The passing attack was finally able to become a factor which allowed the Eagles to find the endzone. After more back and forth play, Eastern pulled away and beat the Pilots 21-14.  

Following a thriller at Zanesville, the No. 1 seed Eastern Eagles are one win away from the regional title when they play Caldwell next Friday.