INDIANAPOLIS — It took just 11 seconds for Columbus East to flex its speed and strength advantages.
Ethan Summa took the opening kickoff 84 yards for the touchdown. That jumpstarted a rout for the Class 5A No. 4 Olympians, who blew by Jeffersonville 56-14 Saturday night in the final game of the Lucas Oil Stadium Showcase.
East (7-1, 6-0) clinched the outright Hoosier Hills Conference title with a 6-0 mark. The Olympians, who have won 13 consecutive conference crowns, close the regular season Friday night at HHC foe Bedford North Lawrence (4-4, 2-4).
East coach Bob Gaddis said he never knows how the team will react to the distractions that come with playing at Lucas Oil.
“It’s great for our school and community to come up here, and I thought our kids focused really well through all that and got off to a great start,” Gaddis said. “Clinching the (outright) title is great. Our kids have worked hard, and that was our goal at the start of the season. We want to finish the job now and win them all (in the conference).”
The Olympians were completely dominant on both sides of the football. It was 21-0 by the end of the first quarter and 49-0 at halftime.
“Returning that kickoff really got us rolling,” junior quarterback Josh Major said. “The defense played great all night, and our offense was clicking.”
Major completed all six of his passes for 123 yards in the first half. For the game, he completed all seven of his passes for 127 yards and a score.
“Josh had a nice night,” Gaddis said. “He makes us go. I thought our offensive line did a nice job because (the Red Devils) are pretty good up front. I thought our receivers did a nice job.”
Major’s 2-yard TD run boosted East’s lead to 14-0 with 5:38 left in the opening quarter. Jamon Hogan’s 1-yard TD made it 21-0.
Major’s second TD, a 1-yard run, made it 28-0 in the first two minutes of the second quarter. A Jeffersonville fumble led to another easy score, with Jaedin Miller scampering 20 yards on first down to to make 35-0.
Following an interception by Jonah Wichman, Major quickly connected with Caleb Voelker for a 40-yard TD pass, pushing the lead to 42-0.
“We say we want to run the ball until we need to (pass), and that just sets up our pass,” Major said.
Thirteen seconds later, Braydon Burbrink intercepted a pass and returned it 24 yards for the score to give the Olympians a 49-0 lead with 3:22 left in the half.
The Red Devils (3-5, 3-3) drove inside the East 20 but ran out of time. Jeffersonville’s one bright spot defensively in the first half was, after a bad snap, their punter was tackled at the Red Devils’ own 3-yard line. The Red Devils stopped Major on fourth down from the 1-yard line.
Hogan’s 22-yard touchdown run expanded the blowout to 56-0 with 5:35 left in the third quarter. Hogan finished with 86 yards on 12 carries.
The Olympians then began to substitute heavily following that score.
The Red Devils scored on Kameron Fuller’s 9-yard TD run with 7:10 left in the fourth quarter. Jeffersonville added another score with less than a minute left on Cameron Northern’s 22-yard pass to Kaleb Fuller.
The game went to a running clock during the fourth quarter. Kameron Fuller rushed for 144 yards.
“We thought they had two really good running backs, and they had All-Conference quarterback and our defense played really well early,” Gaddis said. “It was a good game for us. They’re always a tough matchup for us.”