CONVERSE — Jeff Adamson and Bud Ozmun each left Oak Hill’s football stadium Friday night experiencing conflicting emotions.
Adamson’s Class 2A fifth-ranked Eastbrook team took another step toward defending its Central Indiana Conference title with a 26-7 win over Ozmun’s Golden Eagles. But little about what Adamson and his coaching staff saw from the Panthers was appealing, perhaps only the final score.
“We have guys that are a lot more concerned with things that have nothing to do with winning than listening to their coaches,” Adamson shared. “I was really disappointed. I didn’t think we had much energy. We didn’t execute well.
“There were several times on defense where we had either third or fourth down and should have gotten them off the field and we didn’t,” he added. “We probably had multiple chances in the first half we should have come away with points and didn’t. … It’s just not what we are expecting at all.”
Oak Hill definitely came to battle and challenged the Panthers for 48 minutes in a hard-hitting affair.
But three turnovers and some untimely penalties made the Eagles’ task even tougher.
“At times I really thought we played well. Just too many killer mistakes that hurt us,” Ozmun said. “We played hard. We’re in week four and I’ve got 12 guys on the field, then I’ve got 10 guys on the field. It’s not like that’s new. It’s mental mistakes we’re making against ourselves.
“You cannot go against Eastbrook and give them five yards. At times I though we battled up front. We had some positive things,” he continued. “Understand, Eastbrook makes you do it. I’m not saying Eastbrook won this ball game because we made mistakes. Eastbrook goes and wins a lot ball games because of the way they do things, but we can’t help them. Good teams take advantage of it and that’s what they did all night with the little mistakes we made.”
Oak Hill had the ball first but lost nine yards on the first two plays from scrimmage then had the drive end with Eastbrook’s Justin Starr recovering a fumble at the Eagles’ 12-yard line.
It took the Panthers only three plays to take a 6-0 lead with Alden Miller’s 4-yard run.
Eastbrook forced a three-and-out on Oak Hill’s next possession and were poised to take a two-score lead very quickly.
Braxton Bowser caught a short pass over the middle on second down and turned it into a 63-yard gain. Oak Hill’s Gabe Anderson made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Eagles’ 4-yard line and it gave the home-team’s defense a spark.
Oak Hill dropped Miller for a 3-yard loss on first down, then Bowser lost a yard on second. Eastbrook was called for holding on third down before Lucas Shilts’ 35-yard field goal attempt sailed left of the uprights.
“We addressed that at halftime. We gave up the big play then held them. Two weeks ago we wouldn’t have done that,” Ozmun said. “That’s growth. That’s building on the first few games’ experience and getting better.”
The teams exchanged punts over the next three series before the Panthers extended their advantage on the first play of the second quarter. Isaiah Dalton turned a short pass from Jett Engle into a 48-yard touchdown. The Eagles’ blocked the point-after kick to keep the score at 12-0.
Oak Hill’s offense found some rhythm on its next possession. Quarterback Clay McCorkle scrambled 28-yards to Eastbrook’s 20-yard line on the fourth of 11 plays in the 61-yard drive. The Eagles’ got all the way to the seven-yard line before an illegal block and quarterback sack backed them up to the 24.
On third-and-goal, McCorkle lofted a pass towards Tristen Hayes and the 6-foot-5 tight end made a leaping catch with Eastbrook DB Hayden Raikes in tight coverage and fell into the end zone. Mark Sevier’s PAT pulled Oak Hill within 12-7 with 5:32 remaining in the first half.
Eastbrook’s final possession of the first half yielded its best drive of the game, a 15-play, 80-yard effort that included a pair of holding penalties. It ended with Raikes making his own leaping catch in the back of the end zone on the end of a 14-yard strike from Engle with 1:12 to play. Shilts’ extra point sent Eastbrook to the locker room with a 19-7 lead.
Raikes capped the scoring just five plays and a little over two minutes into the third quarter. He took the pitch on a reverse around the right end and sprinted through the Oak Hill secondary for a 43-yard TD run. Shilts’ kick reached the final, 26-7 margin.
Eastbrook held a 313 to 276 advantage in total yardage while Oak Hill had a the ball nearly seven minutes longer and a 15-14 edge in first downs.
Engle completed 4-of-5 passes, to four different receivers, for 135 yards and two scores. Dalton carried 11 times for 66 yards and Miller ran 15 times for 34 yards for the Panthers.
“I think we had several good plays, but good teams do that consistently,” Adamson said. “We’re not able to do it consistently because our focus isn’t strong enough.
“It’s really frustrating because I thought we came back last week (after a loss to Delta) and had a good, emotional win, an exciting win (at Mississinewa),” he added. “We played a good team tonight. Bud always prepares well for us, we know that. I just think we need the guys to be really focused on what we’re telling them to help them win. I think we’ve got enough talent, but that’s not what’s keeping us from executing.”
McCorkle hit on 11-of-22 passes for 180 yards and a TD to Hayes, but he was also sacked five times. Kyle Turanchick had 11 carries for 45 yards and Blake Fox 14 for 29 for the Eagles. Hayes hauled in six catches for 107 yards, Kian Hite added two grabs for 41 yards and Mason McKinney caught three passes for 32 yards.
“We’re sitting at 1-3 but I believe in these guys and that we can finish strong,” Ozmun said. “If we play a lot more like we did tonight, more consistently, then we can have some success in the second half of the season.”
Oak Hill (1-1 in CIC) goes to Mississinewa (1-3) and Eastbrook (3-1, 2-0 in CIC) hosts Frankton on Friday.
Marion 49, Anderson 0
The Giants moved their North Central Conference record to 2-0 with a dominating performance in Anderson on Friday.
Marion held a 434 to 106 advantage in total yardage. The Giants rushed for more than 300 yards and all seven touchdowns.
Khalid Stamps carried 13 times for 180 yards and scored on runs of 15 and eight yards. Cubie Jones had nine rushes and 85 yards with TD runs of eight and 18 yards. Malachi Silmon added eight carries for 70 yards along with eight-, four- and 15-yard scoring runs.
Kyle Coryea was 7-for-7 in extra-point attempts for the Giants.
Marion (2-2) returns home to face Richmond for Homecoming on Friday.
Mississinewa 34, Madison-Grant 12
Carson Campbell exploded for over 250 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns to lead Ole Miss and help first-year coach Kyle Buresh earn his first win Friday in Fairmount.
Landry Rock scored the Indians’ first touchdown and also threw a 31-yard TD pass to Campbell. Andre Sallade made all four of his extra-point attempts and connected on field goals of 25 and 20 yards.
Campbell finished with 184 yards rushing on 11 carries and caught five passes for another 82 yards.
Clayton Powell had a 29-yard touchdown run for the Argylls in the first quarter and Brad Hasty caught an 18-yard TD from Jack Thompson in the fourth.
Mississinewa (1-3, 1-2 in CIC) hosts Oak Hill and Madison-Grant (1-2, 0-2) travels to Blackford on Friday.