FLORA — Eastern’s football team took possession of the ball for the first time Friday night with 9:50 left in the first quarter. It took the Comets just two plays to score.
It was an efficient evening for the Class 2A No. 11 Comets. They showed the ability to strike for big yardage, and they put Carroll in punting situations just as quickly in a 52-0 victory in Hoosier Heartland Conference play.
The Comets (5-0, 3-0 HHC) went up 46-0 at halftime. Zane Downing got the scoring started with a 45-yard run on Eastern’s second offensive play. It was the first of five touchdowns of 26 or more yards by the Comets.
“I thought really all three areas of the game we played very well in the first half,” Eastern coach Josh Edwards said. “Penalties were low [just three], very clean first half, no turnovers in the first half.
“We got the passing game going a little bit. I thought the defense was very stout, and then I thought our kick coverage on kickoffs was tremendous. I was really happy with all three areas.”
Eastern closed the first quarter up 12-0 with the second TD coming on a 26-yard pass play from quarterback Austin Roberts to Evan Monize. Monize had a big day, hauling in another 26-yard TD pass in the second quarter, then ripping off a 50-yard scoring reception to close the half and go up 46-0 with 17 seconds left. He finished with four catches for 106 yards.
Also in that second quarter, Downing scored on a one-yard run, Gabe Monize scored on a 37-yard run, and linebacker A.J. Wiles scored on a 10-yard fumble recovery.
Downing finished with 126 yards on 16 carries. Eastern ran for 241 yards. Roberts and second quarterback Eli Edwards combined to go 9 of 13 through the air for 125 yards and no interceptions.
On the defensive side, Eastern pitched its fourth shutout of the season.
Eastern didn’t allow Carroll (2-3, 1-2) to get a first down until the Cougars managed one in the fourth quarter. The Cougars punted eight times. Each team lost two fumbles. Carroll finished with minus-9 yards rushing on 19 totes and connected on 3 of 14 passes.
“That’s kind of what we were concerned with was their running game,” Josh Edwards said. “We had film on them versus Delphi where they played very, very well and probably should have won that game against Delphi, they just didn’t convert on some turnovers. I think they had a kid run for over 200 yards versus Taylor — [they have a] very nice looking offense. And I thought our guys were just quick and aggressive.
“We wanted to attack on offense and we wanted to attack on defense and I thought defensively that’s what our kids did. We had a great scheme and I thought our kids executed it very well.”
The Comet coach said the defense consistently put the Comets in good positions. Six times Eastern started drives in Carroll territory, and the Comets’ worst position to start a drive was their own 34.
“When we’re talking about how many yards Zane had and a couple of the other guys, it wasn’t that high because we had a short field, which is awesome,” Josh Edwards said.