JEFFERSONVILLE — What slim chance Jeffersonville had at competing with Columbus East Friday night went out the door before the game began.
With starting quarterback Shaun Wimberly Jr. sidelined with a rib injury, the Red Devils were forced to go with backup Devaca Parks. Jeffersonville finished with only 19 yards passing, and the Olympians rolled to a 48-7 win.
“I heard that (Wimberly) might be dinged up a little bit,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “He’s a really good player, and I hate it for him. But that completely changed things for them, and then their tailback went out.”
The victory is the 76th in a row in the Hoosier Hills Conference for the Olympians (7-1, 6-0) and gave them at least a share of their 14th consecutive HHC title. They can win it outright with a win Friday against Bedford North Lawrence.
If East wins Friday, it would mark their 11th straight undefeated HHC season.
“We’re just always trying to win the next game,” Gaddis said. “It’s a tribute to all the kids and coaches that have been in our program. I’m really fortunate that a lot of these coaches have been here for almost the whole run, and our kids just understand the bar gets raised, and we keep working for that goal. We always say before the season starts we want to be in position the last game to try to compete for the conference championship.”
The Olympians dominated for the start Friday. They led 48-0 at halftime and went with mostly reserves in the second half.
East needed only 32 seconds to get on the board. Ethan Summa returned the opening kickoff 40 yards to the Red Devils 27, and two plays later, quarterback Josh Major scored on a 27-yard keeper.
“I feel like that set the tone for the rest of the night, and then our defense really played well,” Major said. “We moved the ball well, too. But the good news is, we still have a lot to work on and keep getting better at heading into the last (regular-season) game and into the tournament. We need to keep improving and just get better.”
On the next series, a 37-yard pass from Major to Hogan set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Jaedin Miller. The Olympians then stopped Jeffersonville on fourth-and-2 in Red Devils territory, and on the next play, Major hit Cody Horner for a 32-yard scoring pass.
East added another first-quarter touchdown on a 15-yard run by Hogan and led 28-0 after one period.
The Olympians were forced to punt in their next series, but backed up the Red Devils at their 11-yard-line. Soon after, linebacker Zack O’Connor returned a fumble 15 yards for a touchdown and a 34-0 lead.
“It was a good momentum play to keep the defense going strong,” O’Connor said. “We played fast and physical, and that was the game plan. We stopped the run and didn’t let them get the long pass.”
East added two more touchdowns before halftime. Miller ran five yards for a score, and Hogan marched 19 yards for a 48-0 advantage.
Jeffersonville (3-5, 2-4) got on the board midway through the third quarter when Parks broke loose for a 77-yard touchdown run.
Hogan finished with 100 yards rushing on 14 carries. Major completed 3 of 6 passes for 74 yards, and backup Cole Gilley was 3 of 6 for 67 yards. Horner caught three passes for 57 yards.
“I thought we came out and executed fairly well,” Gaddis said. “They’re a pretty good football team, and they’re very quick and we weren’t sure what they were going to do. They gave us some different looks, but I thought we did a nice job adjusting. Anytime that you have to come on the road and win, that’s not an easy thing to do, so I was happy with the way the kids played the first half. In the second half, we always try to reward our guys and play a lot of kids.”