Olympians blast Artesians in semifinal win

Coming off a major upset of Class 5A No. 2 New Palestine, Columbus East coaches had to be concerned about a letdown Friday night against a one-win Martinsville team.

The Olympians quickly put those concerns to rest.

East jumped out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter and scored on their first seven possessions on its way to a 49-9 sectional semifinal victory.

“I thought we came out early and set the tone,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “We were physical. You worry about that (letdown), but at this time of year, you have a lot to play for, and like we talk about, there’s only a few teams that get to play in November, and now, we’re one of them.”

The Class 5A No. 4 Olympians (10-1) advance to the sectional final, where they will host Whiteland — a 34-0 winner Friday night against Franklin Comminuty — in six days.

East’s offensive starters played only a half against Martinsville, building a 42-6 lead. Quarterback Josh Major carried seven times for 161 yards and a touchdown and completed 4 of 4 passes for 73 yards and two scores.

“Definitely, last week was a great win, but coach Gaddis told us we had to move on and forget about that one because Martinsville didn’t care about that game,” Major said. “They wanted to come in here and beat us, so we knew we’d have to play hard and take it to them.”

The Olympians certainly did. They took the opening kickoff and marched 68 yards in five plays, with Jamon Hogan taking it the final 24 for a 7-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the game.

A 31-yard run by Major set up a 13-yard touchdown run by Hogan on East’s second series. A 48-yard scamper by Major set up his 10-yard scoring pass to Tyler Thomas on the third series.

Major took it in himself for a 17-yard score for a 28-0 lead with 1:22 left in the first quarter. When Hogan went in from the 1 with 8:52 left in the first half, the Olympians enjoyed a 35-0 lead.

The Artesians (1-9) got on the board late in the first half on a 1-yard run by Ben Balcerak. Martinsville then recovered an onside kick, but had to punt, and Ethan Summa returned the kick 23 yards to his own 44.

A 23-yard run by Major and a 33-yard touchdown pass from Major to Caleb Voelker gave any momentum the Artesians had gained back to East.

“I think the offense was moving really well,” Major said. “We had some new guys step in. It was just next-man-up. Everyone who came in and played did great. It was an overall team win.”

With Cole Gilley in at quarterback and Brayden Smith at tailback to begin the third quarter, the Olympians marched for another score. Ethan Rogers took it the final 3 yards for a 49-6 lead.

Hogan finished with eight carries for 75 yards and three touchdowns, while Smith added 59 yards on 10 carries. Voelker had two catches for 48 yards and had an interception on defense.

“It’s always great to reward the kids that come out and practice all the time,” Gaddis said. “We stayed healthy.”

East’s win was its first in seven tries against Martinsville. The teams had not met since 1982.