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WITH all facets of its game clicking for an astounding first 12 minutes of football, Columbus East vanquished visiting Floyd Central 76-30 on Friday night to take control of the Hoosier Hills Conference.
The Highlanders (4-2 overall, 3-1 HHC) came into the game hoping to knock the Olympians from their position as the conference’s perennially dominant team. Instead, East (6-0, 4-0) built a 35-0 lead by the 1:45 mark of the first quarter and cruised to its 10th consecutive victory against Floyd Central.
East coach Bob Gaddis took his foot off the gas pedal by inserting subs early in the second half, but Floyd Central starting running back Gaige Klingsmith (23 rushes for 150 yards) was still pounding away at East in the fourth quarter. East tailback Markell Jones rushed 14 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns and was finished before the second quarter ended.
Things got a little chippy late, but nothing could deny that East continues to dominate the HHC and might just be headed for a shot at a state title.
“We knew that Floyd Central was a good team,” said East junior defensive tackle Connor Roberts, who scored on a 42-yard fumble return in the first quarter. “And we did think it would be a closer game.
“But it was great to see everyone contributing.”
East had its usual offensive stars, but it’s homecoming game victory was even more about a defense that squeezed Floyd Central into oblivion. With East’s defensive line of Roberts, Brock Patterson, Dalton Bateman and Brock Greiwe leading the charge, Floyd Central quarterback Colton Kimm never had a chance to breathe.
Patterson crushed Kimm in the pocket to cause the fumble that Roberts returned for a touchdown; and on the first drive of the second half, Patterson got his own fumble recovery for a touchdown after linebacker Christian Wichman nailed Kimm trying to drop back.
East defensive back Nick Beamish had a dream game with two first-quarter interceptions and a tackle for a five-yard loss.
“We prepared by watching a lot of film,” Beamish said. “Whatever comes, we take what we can get. This was big.”
Roberts certainly thought it was big.
“I will cherish that moment (scoring a touchdown) forever,” he said. “And our team definitely is in a good spot now.”
Gaddis was proud that his team exploded early but was a bit annoyed by the sloppiness that prevailed after East had put the game away.
“When we do things well, we can be an awfully good football team,” Gaddis said.
Fans got a quick glimpse of what was to follow when Jones took the hand-off on the game’s first play from scrimmage and rambled 45 yards to the Highlanders’ 15. Four plays later, East quarterback Alex Cowan burst over from the 2 for a touchdown.
Floyd Central ran only one offensive play before Patterson decked Kimm and Roberts put East’s second touchdown on the board.
East tried some trickery on its next series as J.T. Voelker took a reverse handoff and threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rhett Myers.
Floyd Central went three and out, and Jones went 33 yards for a touchdown on East’s next series.
East wide receiver Sean Owens capped the first-quarter scoring by catching a 43-touchdown pass from Cowan with almost two minutes left in the first quarter for a 35-0 lead. It was over.
Cowan and Jones rushed for touchdowns in the second quarter to extend the lead to 49-0 before Floyd Central finally got on the board. It was 49-7 at the half.
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