Thunderbirds hope for a little history
LITTLE CINCINNATI -- It's could be a very special night at Little Cincinnati this Friday night for the Eastern Greene Thunderbirds.
After just missing the mark last year with a 5-6 overall record and 4-5 regular season tally, they are on the verge of securing their first winning regular season in school history as they prepare to host the Crimson Knights of Southside Home School.
The Thunderbirds currently sit 4-3 on the year with two games to play. While they won't have a winning mark in Southwest Seven Conference play for another year -- the finished 2012 with a 3-3 mark -- they can guarantee themselves no worse than a .500 overall mark (including any postseason loss) and can finish the regular season no worse than 5-4.
That would be a milestone in a program that plans on celebrating their short, 10-year history of football when they honor all available returning players and coaches who will be in attendance Friday night along with the seniors who have donned the black and red in 2012.
While anyone who has watched an EGHS contest this season knows the Thunderbirds are led by the backfield duo of senior workhorse running back Jarred Groomer and gunslinging sophomore quarterback Briar Martindale, little is known about the Crimson Knights.
But that isn't keeping head coach Luke Dean from trying to shift the attention form what many consider a lesser opponent to maintaining a solid, effective and attentive effort from his own team.
He readily admits that focus will be key to any and all success the T-Bird glean from Friday's game.
"We've got to come out ready to play," he said. We don't know much about them.
"But, It's our senior night and I know our seniors are looking forward to it and will be looking for a tough game."
Groomer got back on track in last week's romp over the Union Bulldogs as he ran for 175 yards on what to him must have seemed like a modest 17 carries.
In the majority of Eastern Greene games the senior has carried the ball 20 times or more. Last week it was more of a case of efficiency over quantity.
Of those 17 carries Groomer found paydirt three times, two of which were for double-digit yardage. He scored on runs of 33 and 49 yards in the second quarter before adding a short 1 yarder to his resume.
For Martindale the Union defense provided a solid , but limited throwing environment.
The savvy sophomore used his 7 of 11 passing to rack up a modest total of 140 yards and one touchdown, albeit a long one -- 49 yards to Logan Frye -- in support of a solid night of running the football.
He scampered 46 yards early in the first quarter to begin the scoring before finishing the night with seven totes for 131 yards.
Offensively the Thunderbirds come into the game sporting a 29.1 points per game average while the defense has allowed 23.6 per contest.
Southside Home School enters the contest with a mixed bag of results in 2012 after a 4-6 showing in 2011, their inaugural season of varsity football.
The Crimson Knights stopped Heritage Christian's JV team 22-6 and Edinburgh's JV squad 38-0 to open their second season of playing football.
They have dropped two games to varsity teams as Marshall handed them a 52-0 setback ahead of a 49-13 loss to the Edinburgh varsity team last week.
Friday's game is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Thunderbirds Field.