The battle of top-10 teams and the battle of Hoosier Hills Conference unbeatens never really was a battle.
Class 5A No. 4 Columbus East built a 42-0 halftime lead and cruised from there to a 55-7 homecoming victory against 5A No. 9 Floyd Central.
“I think we came out with a lot of intensity and matched their intensity,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “I thought our offensive line had a great night. They had some really quick athletes up front, and I thought we handled them pretty well, and right now, I feel like we’re getting better at the right time.”
The Olympians (5-1, 4-0) rushed for 391 yards, led by Jamon Hogan’s 180 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Jaedin Miller ran for three first-half scores, and Josh Major completed all six of his passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
After forcing the Highlanders (4-2, 3-1) into a three-and-out on the opening possession, East needed only six plays to go 35 yards, culminating in a 6-yard run by Miller.
The Olympians then backed up Floyd Central into a third-and-19 from its own 9. Cole McCarter intercepted a pass and returned it to the 7, and on the next play, Jamon Hogan took it in.
Gaddis said from what he had seen on film, the Highlanders had faced a third-and-long situation only three times all season.
“Coach talked all week about just coming out and doing better than we did last weekend,” Hogan said. “Coach always says coming out, the first six minutes can determine the game. We came out hard, and we did what we’ve been practicing.”
After another Floyd Central three-and-out, East took over at the Highlanders 38. Six plays later, Miller went in for the 11, and the Olympians led 21-0 after one quarter.
East’s first three drives started deep in Highlanders territory.
“Field position definitely helped us out, but I thought our defense really set the tone in the game and really set us up in good positions to score,” Major said.
Major took to the air to begin the second quarter. He threw a 54-yard bomb to Dalton Back for a score.
Miller added a 2-yard run, and Hogan ran 12 yards for a score to give the Olympians a 42-0 lead at halftime.
The onslaught continued to begin the second half. East took the kickoff and marched 80 yards in 11 plays, with Major hitting tight end Isaac VanCuren for a 13-yard score and a 49-0 advantage.
Floyd Central answered with its only score of the game, a 14-yard run by quarterback Matthew Weimer. East’s JV offense than went 80 yards in 11 plays, with Lance Greiwe taking it the final four yards.
“Our offensive line, I feel like they dominated all night long,” Major said. “They really were the ones that were making us go tonight. They were opening up holes for the backs, and we were able to find them.”
The Olympians did not have to punt all night. Their only blemish was a fumble deep in Highlanders territory.
East’s Jonah Wichman joined McCarter with an interception. Sam Thomasson kicked all seven of his extra-point tries, with the only non-conversion coming on a botched snap.
“Sammy had a great night kicking the football,” Gaddis said. “We knew that they had a Division I kicker (Cole Hussung) coming in, and (Thomasson) responded and he made some big plays. He kicked it in the end zone a couple of times, and we have a bunch of young guys on kickoff, and they did a great job covering.”