Eastwood rolls past Rossford to win NBC outright
ROSSFORD — Mission accomplished for Eastwood’s football team.
The Eagles rolled past Rossford 55-21 Friday night to secure the outright Northern Buckeye Conference title and a home game for the first round of the state playoffs. The Eagles finished the regular season 9-1 overall and 7-0 in league play.
“To win the NBC, that was our first goal all season,” said Eastwood junior Cade Boos. “We knew that if we went out each week and played our best game we were going to come out on top.”
In the last 15 years, covering both the NBC and the Suburban Lakes League, Eastwood has won eight league titles and finished second six times. Last year the Eagles were fourth, but this year they were a young team that matured during the season.
The Eagles start one senior on offense and three seniors on defense.
“It’s always our young guys against a bunch of seniors,” Eastwood head coach Jerry Rutherford said. “Our guys have really grown up in the last year and we are playing pretty well right now.”
Eastwood’s Wing-T offense was in fine form as the Eagles finished with 515 total yards, including 412 on the ground.
“Offensively now we are getting to the point where we are mixing up things up a little more and we can do some other things,” Rutherford said. “By not huddling and going fast I think we wear on some teams.
“Offensively we didn’t really think they were stopping us.”
Rossford head coach Todd Drusback was impressed with the Eagles offense.
“(Their) offensive line did a number and they have some skilled guys and we know that,” Drusback said. “Our concern was when they get in space they are pretty dang good.
“When they had that combination going we just couldn’t stop them.”
Ian Downard led the way with 178 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Boos chipped in with 106 rushing yards and a score on 11 carries. Freshman Jaden Rayford carried the ball nine times for 93 yards and a score.
“The offensive line did a stellar job tonight,” Boos said. “They are a big bunch of boys and I like them blocking for us and I can’t thank them enough.”
Boos had a big night with a combined 166 yards, rushing, receiving and a punt return. He had two interceptions, returning one for a 42-yard touchdown. He also had an interception in the end zone in the final minute of the first half.
Rayford was also effective. In addition to his rushing touchdown, he caught a 44-yard TD pass from Jake Pickerel and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a score.
“We try to get him involved when we can,” Rutherford said. “For a freshman he has done a really nice job. He has a lot of good guys around him that help him.”
After a slow start defensively, Eastwood rose to the occasion in the final three quarters of the game.
“Our defense has been very, very good all year,” Boos said. The Eagles were allowing 11.6 points per game in the first nine contests. “We know when to buckle down and force them to give the ball back to us.”
Eastwood was also able to overcome 10 penalties for 136 yards. Rossford was not penalized in the game.
“It’s frustrating. … They could really hurt us down the road,” Rutherford said. “We have to clean some things up.”
Both teams scored twice on explosive plays in the first quarter.
Quarterback Cody Orr gave the Bulldogs the early lead on a 52-yard TD run 1:21 into the game. The Eagles responded five plays later on Rayford’s 50-yard run to tie the score at 7.
It took Rossford only five plays to take a 14-7 lead as Orr found Joe Burlage with a 42-yard catch and run on a fourth-and-3 play call, but Rayford quickly tied the game with an 85-yard kickoff return for a TD. With Jacob Montag’s PAT it was 14-14 with 6:16 left in the first quarter.
Eastwood expanded its lead with four touchdowns in less than nine minutes in the second quarter.
“We made a few adjustments during the game. We just had to go out and execute our plays,” Boos said. “We didn’t panic. We knew we were capable of pulling away. We just had a lot of confidence.”
Rayford opened the second quarter scoring with his third TD of the game, scoring on a 45-yard pass from Pickerel 42 seconds into the quarter.
Then, despite two 15-yard penalties, the Eagles got a fourth-down stop at the 16-yard line.
Downard went 65 yards to set up a 19-yard scoring run by Boos.
After a another defensive stop, Eastwood put together a 13-play drive covering 51 yards in 3:10. Downard scored on a fourth-and-goal play from the 2-yard line with 2:59 left in the opening half.
Boos increased the lead with a nice interception and 42-yard return for a TD with 2:09 left in the half.
Rossford countered with a quick drive with Orr hitting Jacob Perry with a 15-yard TD pass for 51 seconds left in the half.
The Bulldogs then recovered an onside kick, but Boos’ interception with 32 seconds left in the half stopped the drive.
“Offensively we had opportunities to keep the pace, but we just missed on some opportunities. When you get games like that you just have to keep up and keep scoring,” Drusback said. “We just misfired on some things.”
Rossford finishes 6-4 overall and 5-2 in the NBC.
“Our seniors have accomplished an awful lot,” Drusback said. “Not many people thought we could come back after losing the personnel we lost last year. To have a winning season and put ourselves in the situation to have a chance at the playoffs was a tribute to those guys.”
EASTWOOD 55, ROSSFORD 21
EASTWOOD 14 28 13 0 —55
ROSSFORD 14 7 0 0 —21
R — Orr, 52 run (Murtha kick)
E — Rayford, 50 run (Montag kick)
R — Burlage, 42 pass from Orr (Murtha kick)
E — Rayford, 85 kickoff return (Murtha kick)
E — Rayford, 45 pass from Pickerel (Montag kick)
E — Boos, 19 run (Montag kick)
E — Downard, 2 run (Montag kick)
E — Boos, 42 interception return (Montag kick)
R — Perry, 15 pass from Orr (Murtha kick)
E — Downard, 2 run (Montag kick)
E — Downard, 1 run (kick failed)
Category R E
First downs 17 21
Total net yards 294 515
Rushing 132 412
Passing 162 103
Attempts 26 8
Completions 11 5
Interceptions 2 0
Penalties/yards 0/0 10/136
Fumbles/lost 1/0 1/0
RUSHING: (R) Orr, 17-95; Pickett, 12-41. (E) Downard, 21-178; Boos, 11-106; Rayford, 6-93.
PASSING: (R) Orr, 11-25-2—162. (E) Pickerel, 5-8-0—103.
RECEIVING: (R) J. Perry, 4-64; Burlage, 3-51; Pickett, 3-34. (E) Boos, 5-59.