GREENTOWN — Sheridan controlled the line of scrimmage to beat Eastern 14-7 in overtime Friday night and create a tie atop the Hoosier Heartland Conference standings.
The Comets came into their home finale averaging 286 rushing yards per game, but Sheridan shackled Eastern throughout. The Comets finished with 79 yards on 37 carries.
“We knew it would be determined up front,” Eastern coach Josh Edwards said, “and I felt like they did a very good job of taking away a lot of the things we wanted to do. We’d get a little success going, then they’d push us back behind the chains and that really took away our offensive momentum.”
Sheridan’s offense produced a workmanlike 165 yards on 54 carries. Gavin Reners pounded away for 61 yards on 23 carries and backup Jalen Herron provided a late boost. Herron ripped off 33-yard run deep in the fourth quarter as the Blackhawks threatened to score in the final minute before coming away empty.
Herron struck again in overtime. The Blackhawks had the opening possession and Herron had a five-yard run on first down and a five-yard TD run on third down. That stood as the game-winner after the Comets failed to score on their possession.
“I think that was pretty key, that [Herron] was pretty fresh,” Edwards said. “He hadn’t carried the ball much. He came in and was fresh. When he got the ball, he was pretty quick and elusive and that was hard for us.”
Eastern and Sheridan are both 5-1 in the conference with one week remaining. Eastern visits Clinton Prairie next week and Sheridan hosts Carroll. If both teams win, they will share the conference title. For the Comets, it would be their third straight title.
The Comets had a promising start. They had a nine-play scoring drive that QB Eli Edwards capped with a 38-yard TD strike to Josh Fike over the middle at 9:16 of the second quarter.
After the Blackhawks went three-and-out on their next two possessions, the Comets had a chance to add to their lead right before halftime. Fike had an 18-yard gain to open the drive and Austin Roberts connect with T.J. Weeks for a 30-yard gain on a double pass to move inside the Sheridan 10-yard line. The Comets ended up with three cracks from the doorstep, but Eli Edwards was denied on QB sneaks on second and third downs and Jayden Eagle was dropped for a loss as he tried to go wide on fourth down.
“I second guess myself on a play. I should have stuck with my guns on it, but didn’t,” Josh Edwards said.
After Eastern went three and out to open the second half, Sheridan drew even with a 10-play, 42-yard scoring drive. Reners scored on a 1-yard TD plunge at 6:28 of the third quarter.
Eastern’s next drive looked promising when Fike ripped off a 53-yard run into the red zone, but Sheridan’s defense stiffened and the Comets turned the ball over on downs. Eastern picked up only one more first down the rest of the way as its 20-game HHC winning streak came to an end.
Eli Edwards left the game in the third quarter after suffering a knee injury while playing defense. Roberts replaced him at quarterback.
“I’m as proud as heck of the kids. They played a great game against a very good team,” Josh Edwards said. “We have to rebound and come back next week and get a share of the conference.”