FOOTBALL TROJANS KEEP UP BEAT, 38-7

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East Central QB Alex Maxwell (12) follows a block by Nick Griffin (45) on his first of three TD runs in No. 1-ranked EC’s 38-7 season-opening win over Lawrenceburg Friday on Trojan Field’s new artificial turf. (Sandy Mahoney)

 

ST. LEON - It was as if the state title game was just a week ago. Some things at East Central High School don’t change much.

The EC Trojans handily defeated a fairly young Lawrenceburg Tigers team 38-7 in the Crosstown Showdown, the opening football game of the 2018 season.

The Trojans used their offensive line and the ground game to control the action. And the defense stepped up, allowing the Tigers to get into the red zone just once. That resulted in the lone Lawrenceburg score.

EC’s senior QB Alex Maxwell was named the Crosstown Showdown Mercy Health Most Valuable Player for the game, scoring three touchdowns, rushing for 57 yards on eight carries and completing four of 10 passes for 75 yards.

Behind him was senior Eric Rosemeyer, who picked up where past EC running backs have tread. Rosemeyer rushed for a game high 196 yards on 11 carries, including 161 yards at the half, and one TD.

It started with the first EC snap of the game. Rosemeyer took a Maxwell handoff, ran up the middle and cut to his right for 48 yards before being caught from behind.

 “It was my first run, I just felt slow on that one,” the running back said. “I think I’ll get better throughout the year and get a touchdown on that instead.”

Rosemeyer praised the veteran offensive line. “Every time I had a hole to run through, so the line did pretty good. They have a little bit to work on still, but they are doing pretty good. I think we’ll get better throughout the year.”

EC head coach Don Stonefield said Rosemeyer is a threat when he touches the football. “He may not have the breakaway speed that (graduate Logan) Storie had, but he’s a tall lanky kid who always fall forward.”

Lawrenceburg coach Ryan Knigga, while not pleased about the loss, said his team showed good play at times that he and the coaches can build upon.

Tigers’ offense, while only scoring seven points, had 23 first downs and ran for 255 yards on 46 carries, just 24 fewer yards of total offense than EC (366 to 342).

“I like our team,” Knigga said. “I thought we did a lot of things well, actually. We had 23 first downs. Against an East Central defense, that’s quite an accomplishment. Especially with some of these young guys that we’re playing up front. And, obviously, at quarterback, running back.”

Tigers started freshman Garrett Yoon at QB. He completed nine of 22 passes for 87 yards and one interception and ran for 94 yards on 19 carries. Sophomore Adam Burd was the leading LHS rusher with 102 yards on 16 carries.

“On this stage as a freshmen, in Game No. 1 as a varsity player, he did what we thought he could do, to be honest,” Knigga said. “You don’t start a freshmen unless you think he can do things like those.”

EC coach Don Stonefield said Lawrenceburg is going to be a good football team.

“That offense is pretty good,” he said. “We burned up a couple of fronts and burned up a bunch of coverages just to try to stop their quarterback isos (isolation plays), the rollout and things like that.”

But the night belonged to the Trojans, even if Stonefield said the team has mistakes to clean up.

“I thought we played hard,” the head coach said. “We can clean up mistakes, but if kids won’t play hard we’ve got issues. I thought the offensive line dominated. I thought Rosemeyer had a heck of a night. I thought Maxwell checked us into a lot of good things.”

The Trojans scored first, with Maxwell running it in from one yard out in the first quarter, and then added a second TD on another Rosemeyer 48-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.

Lawrenceburg the used 10 plays to go 78 yards, with Mason Kennedy scoring off a direct snap from one yard out midway through the second quarter for its only score.

EC put the game away with just 33 seconds left in the first half, scoring on a Maxwell 28-yard run. Trojans drove home the point on the fourth play of the third quarter, when the QB ran over right tackle into the end zone.

Senior kicker Caden Browndyke kicked a 43-yard field goal later in the third quarter, the longest FG of his career.

“I was trying to just go through the motions,” he said. “It was my longest field goal in a game. My longest in practice is 55. In a game, it feels really good.”

Browndyke said he didn’t notice a difference with the new artificial turf as compared to the natural grass field of last year. “If it was raining and (more muddy), I think I could have done it either way.”

Trojans’ placekicker made all five of his extra point tries, and booted four of his seven kickoffs into the end zone. With the other three kickoffs Lawrenceburg started at the 22, 20 and 21 yard lines.

“Browndyke impressed me tonight,” said Coach Stonefield. “It looks like we’ve got a guy who can kick one through the end zone every now and then. It looks like we’ve got a weapon.”

Sophomore running back Jake Fike ended the scoring, running 13 yards late in the fourth quarter.

EC fumbled once. Rosemeyer coughed it up after rushing for about 12 yards in the third quarte, and the defense had three pass interference calls against it.

 “If you going to run bump and run, and you are going to keep two safeties over the top, those DBs are going to fight,” Stonefield said about the interference calls.

Junior linebacker Kyle Krummen led EC’s defense with 10 total tackles, with sophomore Devon Donawerth adding eight.

For Lawrenceburg, the young defense tried to hold its own all night. Knigga noted that eight starters never had played a varsity football game before

“We have two starters back on defense, we replaced all of our front eight,” he said. “I asked them earlier today how many of them had made a tackle a varsity play, and two guys raised their hands.

“We’re not going to see an offense as physical as (EC) all year. There are some teams that present problems for us, but not as physical as that.”

He said he was proud of how his young team held up against the bigger, more experienced, Trojans.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Knigga added. “Proud of how well we held up. Proud of how we responded. It was 14-7 when they scored with 30 seconds to go, right before halftime.”

Lawrenceburg opens its home season this coming Friday, hosting the Taylor Yellow Jackets at 7 p.m. It is the first week of play for Ohio football teams.

East Central plays the first of a two-week Ohio adventure, traveling to Bridgetown to play the Oak Hills Highlanders at 7 p.m. Friday. It’s also the first game for the Highlanders, who play in the Greater Miami Conference, which includes perennial powerhouse Colerain Cardinals.