Two teams that had suffered opening week losses met at Clarksville on Friday with first half action looking as if two teams were going to battle to the wire in order to get that first win.
After leading 22-21 at the half, Clarksville is still looking for that first win as visiting Eastern scored 34 unanswered second-half points for a 55-22 victory.
Not only does the victory give the Musketeers their first win of the season, but it puts them tied at this early point in the season atop the Mid-Southern conference race at 1-0 with Brownstown Central and Salem.
“I wish I could tell you what we did different in the second half,” Eastern coach John Dablow said. “I thought we could run the ball up the middle. We had some success with that.”
And run the ball the Musketeers did. Quaterback Austin Roberts completed only 2-of-4 passes for 11 yards, but he didn’t need to throw the ball with Jordan Eberle gaining 116 yards on nine carries while Brian Arnold carried the ball 18 times for 97 yards. Eastern gained a total of 374 yards rushing.
Clarksville got on the board quickly to start the game as quarterback Wyatt Kissel hooked up with Marquise Parrish for 46 yards and first down at the Eastern 6-yard line on the games first play. After two running plays gained nothing, Kissel threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Wright for a 6-0 lead.
The lead was short lived as Eastern drove 44 yards in seven plays with Cody Estes taking it in from 8 yards out. Like the Generals, the Musketeers missed the conversion kick and the score remained tied at 6-6.
Eastern then took the lead on a 14-yard touchdown run by Arnold. Clarksville pulled even early in the second quarter as Parrish scored on a 20-yard run then caught a 2-point conversion pass from Kissel.
Mike Hall then scored on a 5-yard run for Eastern. Again Clarksville came back quickly as Parrish broke loose for 51 yards and a touchdown. When Kissel ran for a 2-point conversion, the Generals led 22-21, a lead they took to the halftime lockerroom.
Clarksville had to be thinking that it could have been more as it had a touchdown called back on a penalty, plus had a number of other penalties that either stalled drives of their own or enabled Eastern to keep drives alive.
After halftime, it was all Eastern as the Musketeers scored on five of seven series with two of the scores coming after recovering onside kickoffs, giving their offense a short field to operate. When it was over, Eberle had found the end zone for three scores while Estes was there twice.
“In the first half we had some defensive breakdowns and some penalties,” Dablow said. “In the second half, I thought our seniors started to show some leadership.”
“We had a lot of penalties tonight; Last week we didn’t have any,” Clarksville coach Steve Cooley said. “And they totally outplayed us. We made a lot of mistakes, but we’re a young team that has to enbrace opportunities for success. We’ll go back to work and work on the positives. I saw some positive things tonight.”
Kissel completed 6-of-17 passes with one interception for 139 yards. Parrish gained 90 yards on 10 carries.
Both teams will remain in conference play next week as Eastern will host Brownstown while Clarksville will travel to Charlestown. Brownstown defeated the defending MSC champion Pirates 40-26 on Friday.
“Brownstown is the cream of the crop,” Dablow said. “We’ll have to play a lot better then we did tonight.”
CLARKSVILLE 55, EASTERN 22
Eastern 14 7 16 18—55
Clarksville 6 16 0 0—22
C — Andrew Wright 6 pass from Wyatt Kissell (kick failed).
E — Coty Estes 8 run (kick blocked), 10:48.
E — Brian Arnold 14 run (Jordan Eberle from Austin Roberts), 41.9
C — Parrish 20 pass from Kissel (Parrish from Kissell), 10:29.
E — Mike Hall 5 run (Hunter Fleenor kick), 7:31.
C — Parrish 51 run (Kissel run), 6:05.
E — Tristen Smith 1 run (Estes from Roberts), 9:36.
E — Eberle 21 run (Hall from Roberts), 6:17.
E — Eberle 19 run (kick blocked), 7:08.
E — Eberle 18 run (kick blocked), 5:00.
E — Estes 5 run (kick blocked), 3:31.