Running game lifts Olympians past Stars

By Ted Schultz | The Republic
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A 68-yard run for a touchdown by Bedford North Lawrence on its first play from scrimmage Friday night only seemed to delay the inevitable.

After that, Columbus East pounded the Stars with its running game to the tune of 335 rushing yards. They had five drives of at least 13 plays, scoring on four of them, and closed the regular season with a 31-15 Hoosier Hills Conference win.

“The coaches did a nice job of running guys in and out, and I thought our offensive line was pretty awesome,” East coach Eddie Vogel said. “We’ve talked about our margin for error is not very good if we get behind the chains, but we were able to bang it out and stay ahead of the chains. It was a good night. Our offense executed well, and then defensively after that first play, we did a pretty good job.”

Following the Stars’ quick strike by Zane Anderson, the Olympians (4-5, 4-2) had the ball for 16 plays on their first offensive possession, but after getting inside the BNL 10, a pair of penalties pushed it back, and Nathaniel Hedrick was wide left with a 40-yard field goal attempt.

East got the ball back and had a 14-play drive, culminating in a 1-yard run by Tryce Villarreal. Then after a Stars three-and-out, the Olympians used a nine-play drive, with Ethan Duncan hitting Logan Christophel for a touchdown on third-and-goal from the 9.

Following another BNL three-and-out, East put together a 13-play drive. Villarreal went in from the 2, and the Olympians led 21-7 at the half.

East took the second-half kickoff and went on a 15-play drive that culminated in a 21-yard field goal by Hedrick. The Olympians then went on a 16-play, 85-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard run by Javeon Smith that put it away at 31-7.

The Stars scored a touchdown and 2-point conversion with 1:04 remaining to make the final score a little closer.

Villarreal finished with 142 yards on 13 carries to lead the East offense. Duncan added 100 yards on 19 carries.

“Our preparation in practice all week this week, we came out on offense and just took it to them,” Villarreal said. “For us to get wins, we have to have good practices.”

The Olympians, who won three of four to close the regular season, now have next week off before traveling to Whiteland for the sectional semifinals on Oct. 29.

“We’ve talked about just trying to get some momentum and trying to play our best football come tournament time,” Vogel said. “We practiced well, and we’re starting to hit our stride. We know who we are, and we have a couple weeks to prepare for Whiteland now.”