LEES CREEK — After starting the season with five consecutive losses, Miami Trace has now posted back-to-back victories.
The Panthers won on the road Friday night, taking down the East Clinton Astros at Lees Creek, 21-7.
For East Clinton, it was a frustrating contest as the Astros had their chances, but just could not capitalize on their opportunities, and for Astro head coach Jeremy Yankey, its losing the battle in the trenches which makes the difference.
“We’re just not a very physical team, and it’s (hampering) our ability to compete in the South Central Ohio League” Yankee said. “I know it’s just year number one of the process, but we’re getting man-handled up front, sometimes by sophomores and juniors and we’ve got to do a better job.
“It’s not because of lacking effort……it’s the fact that we do not match-up well against teams like this. We’ve got to get it figured out and it starts in the weight room…..that’s where we’ve got to make a better commitment.
“I see this happending each week and it’s very frustrating to me and our coaching staff.”
For the ball-controlled Panther offense, senior running back Larry Jackson was the difference, as he accounted for all three of the Miami Trace touchdowns, one in each of the first three quarters. The first score came on the Panthers’ opening drive, which consisted of eight plays covering 53 yards. Jackson’s six-yard TD run put Miami Trace on the board at the 6:50 mark, and Blake Pittser’s PAT made it a 7-0 contest.
The second score was the result of a grind-it-out 14-play 67 yard drive which ate up nearly six and one half minutes off the clock. Jackson capped the drive with another six-yard run to paydirt, at the 8:59 mark of the second quarter, and Pittser’s kick made it a 14-0 Panther advantage.
East Clinton’s cut the deficit to 14-7 late in the half, when quarterback Erik Moore found an opening on the right side of the Astro line and reached the goal line with 1:15 remaining. Freshman kicker Austin Arellano booted the PAT to close out the first half scoring.
Miami Trace scored its third touchdown of the night on it’s first drive of the second half, covering 50 yards on 14 plays. Jackson reached the end zone at the 6:49 mark and Pittser’s PAT kick extended the Panther lead to 21-7. East Clinton was unable to mount any potential scoring drives in the second half as the Panthers chewed precious time off the clock.
Next week, the Astros will host Hillsboro while Miami Trace returns home to face unbeaten SCOL foe Wilmington.