WATERFORD - When the Eastern Eagles needed the big plays, all they had to do was turn to the ground game and there they were.
Eastern racked up 392 yards rushing on 44 carries and scored five touchdowns on the ground as the Eagles soared past Waterford 39-6 at Waterford Elementary School Friday night.
The Eagles' 392 yards rushing was 313 more than Waterford managed as a team, and both running back Ethan Nottingham and quarterback Joey Scowden rushed for more yards individually than the Wildcats' combined.
Photo by Kevin Pierson
Eastern running back Ethan Nottingham, center, tries to break the tackle of Waterford's Wyatt Porter during the first quarter of a football game in Waterford Friday night. Eastern won 39-6.
"We played well, but we've got to get better. We had over 100 yards in penalties," said Eastern football coach David Tennant.
Penalties were about the only thing the Eagles did wrong, as they racked up 12 of them for 110 yards in the game.
Despite all those miscues, the Eagles still put up 15 first downs and outgained Waterford by a 488-113 margin, converting on numerous third downs.
"Every time we had them third and long, they made it. We didn't get any stops when we needed to make stops," said Waterford football coach Tom Tucker.
As good as the ground game was, it still took a little while for the Eagles to get going.
Eastern turned the ball over on downs on its first possession, and punted on the second, but then tallied two touchdowns on the next four plays to go ahead 13-0.
Scowden got the scoring started when he scampered in from 46 yards out with 3:01 to play in the first quarter, and then Eastern turned to a little trickery on a third and 14 at their own 44.
Facing the long third down, Scowden completed a pass to Max Carnahan, and Carnahan flipped the ball to Nottingham, who covered the remaining 56 yards to paydirt for a 13-0 Eagle advantage with 18.1 seconds in the first quarter.
Down 13-0, Waterford strung together a long drive, as the Wildcats took more than eight minutes off the clock. But with the ball situated at the Eastern 14, a pair of penalties and a sack of sophomore quarterback Joe Pugh doomed the drive.
"Our kids played hard. We had a lot of good plays, and then we'd have an offsides or we'd have a hold," Tucker lamented.
The Wildcats finally got on the board with 1:51 to play in the first half when Kyle Miller intercepted a screen pass by Eastern and gave Waterford the ball at the Eagles' 5-yard line. One play later, Derek Brown gave the Wildcats' their only score.
"That was a great play on their part. You can't take it away from them," Tennant said.
Leading by just a single score, the Eagles took advantage of Waterford's miscues to transform the game.