Thunderbirds set tone early in rout of North Daviess
ELNORA -- "Its a great feeling."
Those were the words Eastern Greene lineman Jacob Williams kept saying Friday night after he helped lead the Thunderbirds to a 41-0 romp over Southwest Conference foe North Daviess.
The 315-pound lineman has created holes all season for the Thunderbirds offense to run through, but one play Friday night he was the one with the ball in his hands, crossing the goal line.
Late in the first half, Eastern Greene (3-0, 2-0) called a timeout after dual-threat quarterback Jeff Graham was tackled at the North Daviess 2-yard line. Already leading 34-0 and under a minute left on the first half clock, the Thunderbirds decided to move Williams to the backfield. The senior took the hand-off from Graham and busted through the Cougars defense for a score -- just like he has watched his teammate do numerous times this season.
It was his first high school touchdown.
"Just another great feeling," Williams said of his score. "Tonight was full of great feelings on the football field."
Eastern Greene head coach Joey Paridean mentioned Williams had been asking for the ball all week in practice.
"We talked about it all week," the head coach joked. "He told me they had a package for him in middle school.
"But he deserved that carry tonight. He's been dedicated to this program for four years now."
The score would be the last time th Thunderbirds would find the end zone on the night. With a 41-0 lead at the half, the game was all but over.
The Eastern Greene defense held the Cougars offense to 35 yards from scrimmage in the first half. North Daviess (0-3, 0-2) longest play from scrimmage was an 11-yard run by William Webster, as the Cougars managed just one first down.
Graham, who also is the Thunderbirds starting defensive back, picked off a pass in the second quarter and returned it untouched for a 35-yard touchdown. The defensive score gave the Thunderbirds a commanding 34-0 lead with 9 minutes and 13 seconds left in the half. It was the first play, from scrimmage, after Caleb Hamilton found the end zone on a 3-yard rumble for a 27-0 lead.
Graham started the scoring on the Thunderbirds first possession. He kept the ball on a zone read option play and made a cut through the Cougars defesne for a 63-yard score. It was just the second play from scrimmage.
"He's a super back," North Daviess veteran coach Scotty Helms said of Graham. "He makes excellent reads and made us wrong every time tonight."
The Cougars went three-and-out on their first possession. After a false start penalty pushed the ball back to their own 20, the punt went for negative five yards -- giving Eastern Greene possession on the 15.
Four plays later Brent Price scored from three yards out for a 13-0 lead with 7:57 left in the opening frame.
On the Thunderbirds third possession, Graham capped off a 10-play 73-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hamilton. The screen pass came on 4th-down-and-4.
For the first half, the Thunderbirds offense scored on five of six possessions.
"The offense has been there all year," Paridean said. "So it was nice to see our defense step up tonight and follow suit."
Josh Vincent and Williams came up with a pair of tackle for loss in the first half for the T-Birds defense, while Gavin Hill added a sack.
Although North Daviess picked up 90 yards in the second half, most came as the Thunderbirds were shuffling reserve players in and out of the lineup.
Tyree Gibs led the Cougars with 71 yards rushing, while David Shands added 32 yards on the ground -- all in the second half.
"Our kids are just young and inexperienced," Helms said. "But Eastern (Greene) is a very good football team and I expect them to be competitive against everyone they play."
Isaac Hamilton added a tackle in the backfield in the second half, while Caleb Miller forced a fumble and Brayden Deckard added an interception.
Graham lead the offense with a game-high 109 yards rushing on just nine totes. The junior signal caller also completed 9 of 12 passes (9-for-9 in first half) for 128 yards/
"Jeff really leads our team well," Williams said. "The line really blocks our tails off for him because we want him to succeed."
Eastern Greene will look to carry on the early season momentum next Friday when they travel to Mitchell.
"We have never been here (3-0)," Williams said of the start. "But when you start making good habits things start going well and we are making a lot of good habits right now."
THUNDERBIRDS 41, COUGARS 0
Scoring by Quarters
EG -- Graham 63 run (kick failed), 11:06
EG -- Price 3 run (Drummond kick), 7:57
EG -- HIll 8 pass from Graham (Drummond kick), 1:59
EG -- Caleb Hamilton 3 run (Drummond kick), 9:30
EG -- Graham 35 INT return (Drummond kick), 9:22
EG -- Williams 2 run (Drummond kick), :38.6
|First downs 11||6|
|Passing yards 128||10|
|Total yards 304||126|
Rushing -- Eastern Greene, Jeff Graham 9-109, Brent Price 8-43, Caleb Hamilton 3-2, Jacob Williams 1-2, Isaac Hamilton 3-13, Brayden Deckard 5-5, Deric French 1 (minus 5), Zach Terry 2-7; North Daviess, Jesse Reed 3-9, David Shands 4-32, Austin Markel 1-0, Ryan Millligan 4 (minus 2), William Webster 3-9, Sam Chapin 2 (minus 3), Tyree Gibbs 24-71.
Passing -- Eastern Greene, Graham 9-12 128 2 TDs, Brayden Deckard 0-1; North Daviess 6-12 10.
Receiving -- Eastern Greene, C. Hamilton 4-65, Gavin Hill 2-23 1 TD, French 2-29, Jackson Rogers 1-11; North Daviess, Gibbs 1-5, Markel 1-2, Webster 2-1, Shands 1(minus 4), Milligan 1-6.