CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – The Southern Indians’ defense came up big Saturday as they propelled the Indians to a 46-22 win over the Valley Christian Eagles at John Knapick Filed in Campbell. The victory improves the Indians to 6-2, 5-0 in the EOAC. The Eagles drop to 5-2, 3-1 in the league.
The Indians defense converted three Eagles turnovers into touchdowns to build a commanding 46-0 lead at halftime. But they had to hang on as the Eagles tried to storm back in the second half.
“We played as well as we could play in the first half, but we played badly in the second half. This is a tough place to play, and they are a very physical football team. We got a nice lead in that first half and then we got a little too comfortable,” Indians coach Rich Wright said.
“They had a good game plan, and they executed it,” Eagles coach Andy Hake added. “Coach Wright is a good coach, and they have a nice team.”
The Indians pounded the ball to start the contest and scored on a 6-yard run by Wyatt Morris with 6:20 left in the first quarter. That drive consumed 65-yards on 11-plays.
They would make it 16-0 with just 11-seconds remaining in the opening quarter when Wyatt scored once again. This time it was a 4-yard run.
That is when the Indian defense forced four consecutive turnovers by the Eagles, converting three into scores. The first was a 25-yard fumble return by Colton Soukup at the 8:15 mark of the stanza. Then Soukup would return an interception 17-yards with 6:41 left in the frame to make it 30-0 in favor of the Indians.
Following another Eagles fumble, the Indians scored on a 38-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Exline to Morris down the middle of the field for a touchdown and a 38-0 lead. That score came with only 2:24 left in the half.
But the Indians’ defense was not done yet as Cooper Edmonton would then return an interception 30-yards to boost the Indians lead to 46-0. The score came with just 1:59 remaining in the first half.
“We knew they ran spread so we went with deep coverage and then when they ran the ball we blitzed,” Edmonton explained the Indians’ defensive approach in the game.
The Eagles came out fighting in the second half as they would score three times to stop the running clock in the final minute of the contest.
Ja’Sean Lindsey scored on a 15-yard run with 4:18 left in the third quarter, and then Jon’Qual Pabellon ran in from 2-tards out to make it 46-14 with just 3:21 remaining in the game.
Following a successful on-side kick, the Eagles Jhordan Peete avoided Indian tacklers on a 60-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joey Battista with just 47-second left in the contest.
“I wish the second-half team would have come out here in the first half. We can’t have three turnovers for touchdowns,” Hake stated. “Honestly, I give our kids so much credit for how they played to stop the clock like that. That is what we wanted to do. I’m really proud of our kids.”
The Indians play at East Palestine next Friday while the Eagles will host Wellsville next Saturday.
Watch the video above to see highlights from the game.