No. 7 - Eastern Greene has record season on gridiron

Friday, December 30, 2011
Eastern Greene junior running back Jarred Groomer (21) had a standout season for the Thunderbird football team, who set a school record with five wins, including the first postseason win in the nine-year history of the program .(By B.J. Hargis)

Eastern Greene did not make its goal of a .500 season in 2011, but it came awfully close.

The success of the Thunderbirds on the gridiron was voted as the No. 7 sports story of the year by the Greene County Daily World.

The Thunderbirds shored up a defense that had been porous throughout the years. Led by Ezra Eads and Jake Johnson, who earned honorable mention Class A All-State by The Associated Press, they allowed less than 30 points per game.

Eads, who also made the Class A All-State Junior team as voted on by the Indiana Football Coaches Association, accounted for 71 solo and 51 assisted tackles to go along with four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and two TFL.

As a member of the Thunderbird secondary, Johnson accumulated 51 solo and 52 assisted tackles while earning a half-sack, picking off two passes and scoring one TD.

Groomer, who set a school record for total TDs in a game when he ran for five against Wood Memorial, was the leading rusher for the Thunderbirds.

The junior carried the football a total of 231 times for 1,462 yards to lead the team. He scored 17 touchdowns and added four two-point conversions.

He also set the school record for rushing with 356 yards in the same game against Wood Memorial

Coach Luke Dean's Thunderbirds, who finished 5-6 after never winning more than three games in any of their previous eight varsity seasons, defeated Wood Memorial 51-29.

They started a winning streak on Oct. 1 at Dugger. They beat long time nemesis Union 26-12.

The Thunderbirds then defeated first-year varsity program Southside Home School 73-12 and Tecumseh 42-13 on back-to-back weeks in October.

The Thunderbirds made it four wins in a row when they opened play in Class A Sectional 40 with a 22-20 victory at North Knox. The Warriors had won the regular season meeting 35-13.