The tone was set early when Eastern’s Will Porter went the double reverse route for 63 yards for a TD on the opening play from scrimmage, and Cole Walker’s PAT boot had the Comets up after a mere 19 seconds had elapsed. Taylor didn’t flinch and Titan quarterback Jordon Lazaro and running back Dayne Tomlinson took Taylor 74 yards in 12 plays for a score. The kick failed, but it was a 7-6 Eastern lead with more fireworks to come.
Eastern quarterback Bates had perhaps his best game of the year four touchdown passes totaling 135 yards and he was also good on his feet with 93 yards and a TD in 11 trips.
He hit Porter with a 50-yard fling to make it 13-6; ran seven yards for a score to make it 21-13; hit Noah Aaron for a seven-yard payoff to make it 28-13; found Porter again for a 49-yard strike to up the lead to 35-13 and then hooked up with Braden Gibson for a 24-yard TD to make the score 49-23.
“I think the big difference was Eastern had more athletes than we did,” Davis said. “But our kids stuck with it, didn’t wilt and that says a lot for the kind of kids we have. It’s been that way all year, our guys play hard for four quarters.
“We wanted to get the ball in the hands of Tomlinson and Lazaro because they are our best athletes. But it was a big-play game, and that was the difference. We have to grind it out, and I think as the game wore on fatigue became a factor.”
Other Comet scores came late in the contest when Byers bolted two yards for a score and promising freshman Corbin Hetzner capped a six-carry, 74-yard night with a 55-yard scamper. Byers had six carries for 68 yards in a part-time role.
Taylor’s Tomlinson had an equally impressive night with a touchdown bolts of five, 19, five and again five yards as part of a 24-carry, 139-yard effort. The gutsy Lazaro carried 15 times for 53 tough yards, and his 7-of-19 passing performance for 113 yards could’ve been much richer if not for a few dropped throws.