CEDARVILLE — A jovial Homecoming night started as positively for winless Cedarville as the team intended, but Greenon was ready to ruin the festivities.
After trailing early, the Knights rattled off 42 unanswered points to hand Cedarville a 42-7 loss in its Ohio Heritage Conference divisional opener.
Despite what the score suggests, a game of “almosts” for the Indians was on full display in the opening minutes of the second half.
Trailing by 14, a long pass attempted to escape its own goalline on third-down was thrown down the sideline, intended for sophomore Tyler Cross, and was dislodged at the last moment that would have given the Indians great field position.
Greenon’s first play after the ensuing punt saw its quarterback Kade Wooten break several tackles while off balance, before streaking 43 yards for a score.
“We play a lot of young guys,” Cedarville head coach Austin Steward said. “I think there’s eight sophomores usually on the field for us at any given time. But they’re young. They are sometimes 15 years old going up against 18-year-olds. And we tell him that, but they can make plays. They love football. They’re here every day and they keep fighting and they will keep fighting.”
Cedarville marched down the field to start the game, gashing the Knights’ defense for 10 or more yards on four occassions. The drive was capped off on a 1-yard touchdown run by senior Masin Bowen for an early 7-0 lead.
“Once we get a rhythm going we’re fine,” said Steward. “But once we get out of that rhythm it’s tough to get back in it. We had some younger guys step up for us to keep some plays and drives alive. Greenon was lights out. They’re probably the best defensive team in our league. They hang their hat on defense and that showed tonight, that’s for sure.”
The quarter ended with the Indians in front, but Greenon struck on the first play of the second with a long pass to a wide-open receiver who was lost in the defensive secondary to tie the score.
The Indians’ defense stood tall when needed to keep the score close. A fourth and short attempt inside the redzone on Greenon’s next possession was deemed to be stopped upon measurement, just inches short of the marker.
After the ensuing Cedarville three-and-out, Greenon would push through on a 9-yard run by Trevor Stewart, the team’s leading rusher, to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Trailing 14-7, a Cedarville punt turned into bad news when the snap sailed over the punter’s head, straight into the endzone where Greenon pounced on the ball to go up 21-7.
“After that first drive we just weren’t able to move the ball a whole lot,” Steward said. “They made some adjustments on defense and we weren’t quick to adjust to it and and that was just a big thing. We also gave up a lot of big plays, a big long run as well as a bad snap on a punt. It seem like we just gave up too many big plays end it hurt us a lot.”
As the seconds ticked down before halftime, the Indians’ were able to pressure Greenon’s quarterback into throwing an interception to keep the score close. It was caught by sophomore Jackson Miller, his first of the season.
“Our guys won’t quit because that’s the type of guys that we have here,” Steward said. “They pride themselves on that and they’ll keep fighting.”
The Indians head back into OHC South play on Friday at Springfield Catholic Central.
Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.