RUSSIAVILLE — Class 3A No. 3-ranked Western owned a perfect record through six weeks, but less-than-complete performances left room for concern.

The Panthers put the concerns to rest Friday night.

Western took Eastern behind the woodshed for a 69-0 beatdown in Mid-Indiana Conference play.

“The kids were fired up and we finally played four quarters. I think that’s the first time we played with intensity for four quarters this season,” Western coach Alix Engle said. “I don’t think the score is a representation of where the Eastern program is right now, but I think it was good that we came out fired up and we played our brand of ball. I’m really proud of the effort our guys gave.”

Western improved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the MIC. Western and Class 2A No. 5 Cass share the conference lead and appear on a collision course to play for the championship in their Oct. 17 game.

“We have a group of guys who have set some really high goals — conference championship first and foremost,” Engle said. “These guys have taken it week by week. We continue to have better and better practices. As a coach, if your team can get better and have quality practices every week, you have to be awfully proud of them and thus far I am.”

Eastern, meanwhile, dropped to 1-6 and 1-4 following its 10th straight loss in the cross-county series.

“Obviously, [the Panthers] played outstanding and to be honest, our kids came out scared of the black jerseys,” Eastern coach Josh Edwards said. “We came out and played our worst game of the year and played scared. But give it to them, they played like they were the No. 3 team in 3A and we played like a 1-6 team.”

The Panthers led 21-0 after the first quarter, 41-0 at halftime and 69-0 after three quarters.

Among the highlights for the Panthers:

• They ran for 404 yards on 41 attempts — an average of 9.9 yards per attempt which kept them in first-down or second-down situations nearly throughout. They ripped the Comets for 150 yards rushing in the first quarter alone.

Jake Askren finished with 142 yards and three touchdowns on just nine carries, Mike Jakubowicz had 124 yards and two TDs on 16 carries and QB Bart Shepherd chipped in 70 yards and a score on six carries. Shepherd also completed all three of his pass attempts for 81 yards and a TD.

“Great decision making by Bart Shepherd, hard running by our backs, good blocking up front. I thought our guys executed nicely,” Engle said.

• Homecoming king Kyle Brown had a 41-yard TD reception with 1:00 remaining in the first half and he had a 79-yard kickoff return for a TD to open the second half.

• Western linebacker Logun Taylor capped the scoring when he picked up an Eastern fumble and returned it for a touchdown with 1:55 remaining in the third quarter.

• Western held Eastern to 147 yards of offense. QB Jonathan Keith came into the game averaging an area-best 262 yards passing per game, but the Panthers harassed him all game. John Johnson and Lucas Luckey had early sacks to set the tone. Keith finished 13 of 31 for 112 yards.

“We knew if we didn’t come out and do things right, they could move the ball on us and they could score really quickly. They have some good weapons,” Engle said. “We prepared this week in a good manner that allowed us to come out and be fired up and execute.”

Eastern came in averaging 27.7 points per game, but suffered a shutout for the first time in Edwards’ two seasons and generally looked shell-shocked throughout.

“It’s a step back. The only thing we can do is try to learn from it,” Edwards said.

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