EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – The first championship of the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference has been crowned. Behind two touchdown passes and one rushing by quarterback Parker Sherry, the East Palestine Bulldogs won the title after knocking out rival Columbiana 31-22.
“It’s amazing. It really is,” Sherry exclaimed. “At the beginning of the season coach Foster said everything is in hindsight and we have to look forward. This is one of our big goals before playoffs was to win the EOAC for the first time. So it’s a great feeling.”
“It was a goal at the beginning of the season. After week two we sat out here and said that all of our goals are still are ahead of us,” Bulldogs Coach Tony Foster explained following their 0-2 start to the season.
“Before the game, I said, ‘here we are’. It’s out there for the taking,” Foster added. “So yes, obviously its nice to be the first one and hopefully it’s one of many.”
Sherry would rush for 187 yards on the night, including a 70-yard jaunt with just 1:42 remaining in the contest to seal the victory. With the Clippers scoring late in the third quarter and threatening before a turnover at the Bulldogs 45, Sherry would race around right end, break a couple of would-be tacklers, and race 70-yards to paydirt.
“The big boys up front,” Sherry said of the key for the Bulldogs. “They have to win us the game. But I have to say that coach Foster has done an amazing job. He doesn’t get enough credit.”
“We are what we are, and we do what we do,” Foster remarked. “We pound the ball off tackle and we take our shots when we can.”
“They have an offense that scores 50-points a game,” Clippers coach Bob Spaite said. “You can’t count what they did against Perry and Salem. Just go with league opponents, they’re ripping everybody.”
The Bulldogs never trailed in the game as they jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter. They ate up 6:05 from the opening kickoff with an impressive 70-yard, 13-play drive with Sherry connecting with receiver Branden Kemp from 9-yards out to make it 8-0.
They added to their advantage on their next possession when Sherry found Kemp again. This time it was a 20-yard pass and gave them a 16-0 lead at the 2:20 mark of the opening period.
But the Clippers responded with a equally impressive drive when covered 60-yards on 13-plays to score on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Jakob Cross to receiver Jarrett Nemick. That would make it 16-7 with 8:58 left in the second quarter.
The Clippers would pull even closer just before halftime when Cross found Chase Franklin on a 29-yard scoring strike to make it 16-15 with 2:17 left in the half. Cross would throw for 111 yards and two touchdowns on the night.
The Bulldogs started the second half much like the first when they used 12-plays to cover 62-yards with Dominic Posey leaping into the end zone from 4-yards out. That score gave the Dogs a 24-15 lead with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter.
The Clippers would answer with a 1-yard plunge by Steven Anderson a little over three minutes later. The touchdown and extra point pulled the Clippers to within two points at 24-22 with 1:16 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs looked to seal the game on their next possession as they drove 52-yards down to the Clippers 32-yard line before they fumbled the ball at the 21. With the Clippers having a chance to win the game on a final possession, they drove to midfield before defensive back Cameron Wischerman intercepted a Cross pass at the Bulldogs 26. Sherry would then seal the game on his run three plays later.
“I didn’t do my job,” Spaite remarked. I told coach Wolfe to keep them right at 30 (points) and we’ll win. I didn’t do my job. The defense did their part of the bargain.”
“I’m really proud of our guys. I’m really proud of our seniors. We battled, we did it with class and we played our rear ends off. These guys have nothing to be ashamed of,” Spaite added about his team.
EAST PALESTINE 16-0-8-7=31
EP – Branden Kemp 9 pass from Parker Sherry (Kemp pass from Sherry)
EP – Kemp 20 pass from Sherry (Dominic Posey pass from Sherry)
CO – Jarrett Nemick 14 pass from Jakob Cross (Jared Bryarly Kick)
CO – Chase Franklin 29 pass from Cross (Steven Anderson Run)
EP – Posey 4 run (Kemp pass from Sherry)
CO – Anderson 1 run (Bryarly Kick)
EP – Sherry 70 run (Aymeric Leroy Kick)