LUCKEY — Eastwood’s football team was impressive Friday night.
|Eastwood’s Devin Snowden (20) intercepts the ball as teammate Michael Flipse and Woodmore’s Dan Sprinski (rear) look on during their game Friday night. (Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Eagles played well offensively and defensively en route to a rainy 40-12 victory over Woodmore.
But as sharp as Eastwood was, it still needed a monster special teams play from Brennan Seifert to hand the Wildcats their first loss after a 3-0 start.
Seifert blocked Woodmore’s 31-yard field goal to keep the game scoreless midway through the first quarter.
The Eagles turned the block into a 7-0 lead, thanks to Devin Snowden’s 20-yard run up the middle with 6:12 to play in the first quarter.
After Eastwood held Woodmore to one first down on its next possession, Snowden increased the lead to 14-0 with a 17-yard run around left end just 50 seconds into the second quarter.
“Our coaches talk about making big plays on defense, creating opportunities for our offense, and we did that,” said Seifert, who plays linebacker.
Linebackers Grant Geiser and Brent Schlumbohm both had key tackles after Woodmore’s had first-and-goal at the 4-yard line. The Wildcats eventually missed a 22-yard field goal.
But on their first play offensively, the Eagles fumbled and Woodmore recovered at the Eastwood 19. Linebacker Ryan Mang later sacked Woodmore’s quarterback on the play before Seifert’s block.
“The defense really came through,” Seifert said. “We could have been down by a lot early in the game.”
Seifert had an easy block as he sprinted through a huge hole on the left side of the line.
“The block really changed the momentum,” Eagle coach Jerry Rutherford said.
“If we come out of there with six points, 10 points, 14 points, it’s a whole different game,” Wildcat coach Britton Devier said. “Eastwood’s a good team. They played well.”
Woodmore’s left end stepped out to his left to block Geiser, leaving Seifert a clear path to the kicker. Geiser lined up as the right end, with Seifert on his left. Seifert, an All-Ohio sprinter, was in the backfield so quick, the kicker booted the ball into Seifert’s midsection.
Mang scooped up the ball at the 32 and fumbled the ball. Schlumbohm recovered and returned the ball to the Woodmore 48. The Eagles needed only four plays to score, all Snowden runs.
“They blocked the first field goal the same way and I knew I’d have a chance to get the second,” Seifert said. “I just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss it. That was something we worked in practice. We knew we’d get a shot to block one.”
Eastwood held a 24-6 lead at the half, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal on its last four possessions.
Seifert added a 25-yard TD run with 5:15 to play in the half, and Lucas McCullough kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired.
The Eagles’ last three drives averaged 10 plays and 69 yards.
Eastwood finished the game with 467 total yards, including 423 yards rushing, to improve to 3-1 overall.
Snowden totaled 188 yards on 26 carries, and Schlumbohm, Seifert and Geiser combined for 205 yards rushing.
Snowden also is an All-Ohio sprinter, and Schlumbohm and Geiser are important members of the track team.
Eastwood’s offensive line of Shane VanVorce, Jacob Rahe, Andrew Blair, Tyler McCrory and Jack Heckman blocked well, enabling the team to run inside and outside.
Woodmore ran 14 of the game’s first 15 plays, but Eastwood finished with 31:36-16:24 edge in time of possession.
The Wildcats entered the game averaging 53 points per game.
“That’s as good as we’ve executed our offense,” Rutherford said. “The kids are really doing a good job. With the line we have and the skill we have, we’re able to do a lot of things.”
Rutherford also praised his defense that kept Woodmore’s high-powered, no huddle spread offense under control, despite 254 total yards.
The Wildcats held quarterback Jake Matwiejczyk to just 55 rushing yards on 19 carries and 8-of-28 passing.
“Defensively, this was the best week of scout team practices we’ve had ever,” Rutherford said. “The kids and coaches did an unbelievable job of preparing our kids for what Woodmore was going to do. “
“The scout team did a great job,” Seifert said. “The tempo they ran the plays at got us in shape for the game. Our goal was to limit the number of big plays we gave them, and to not allow their quarterback to run the ball.”
EASTWOOD 40, WOODMORE 12
WOODMORE 0 6 0 6 —12
EASTWOOD 7 17 0 16 —40
E — Snowden, 20 run (McCullough kick)
E — Snowden, 18 run (McCullough kick)
W — Rozzi, 30 run (kick failed)
E — Seifert, 25 run (McCullough kick)
E — McCullough, 28 field goal
E — Schlumbohm, 49 run (kick failed)
W — Matwiejczyk, 22 run (pass failed)
E — Geiser, 36 pass from Schmeltz (McCullough kick)
E — McCullough, 29 field goal
Category W E
First downs 14 23
By rushing 7 14
By passing 5 8
By penalty 2 1
Total net yards 254 463
Rushing 141 427
Passing 113 36
Attempts 28 3
Completions 8 1
Interceptions 1 0
Punts/average 3/38.3 1/55.0
Penalties/yards 5/19 5/44
Fumbles/lost 1/1 4/2
RUSHING: (W) Rozzi, 5-87; Matwiejczyk, 19-55; Weishuhn, 1-(minus 1). (E) Snowden, 26-188; Schlumbohm, 7-88; Seifert, 9-61; Geiser, 10-56; Schmelt, 8-34.
PASSING: (W) Matwiejczyk, 8-28-1—113. (E) Schmeltz, 1-3-0—36.
RECEIVING: (W) Ulinski, 4-64; Brown, 3-44; Sprinski, 1-5. (E) Geiser, 1-36.