By JON REITER
The host Jeffersonville Red Devils already faced a tall order in their Hoosier Hills Conference clash against No. 1 4A Columbus East last night.
The task was made much tougher with a foot injury that sidelined leading rusher Austin Hines for last night’s game.
The Red Devils showed some flashes of competitiveness early in the contest but were methodically put down by the Olympians, who left Blair Field a 41-0 winner.
“We put a game plan together, but it’s the story of our season,” Jeffersonville (4-4, 3-3 Hoosier Hills Conference) coach Lonnie Oldham said. “We turned the ball over, we get down, and we don’t play hard. But they’re a heck of a team. You have to give good effort and play hard to stay in the game against them, and we didn’t do that.”
It looked like the gound-and-pound strategy Oldham employed would pay off against the powerful Olympians (8-0, 6-0) early on. With 6-foot-4, 280-pound Dionte Allen lined up in the backfield behind freshman quarterback Camaron Northern, Jeffersonville drove deep into Columbus East territory by keeping the ball on the ground.
On second down at the Olympian 25, Northern had the ball stripped from him on a rushing attempt and Columbus East took over.
Two plays later, quarterback Alex Cowen found running back Markell Jones for a bubble screen near the Columbus East sideline that the junior took for a 71-yard touchdown with 5:12 left in the first quarter.
Jeffersonville could never carry over the momentum they gained on that first drive. Northern, who tossed three touchdown passes in a loss to New Albany last week, was sacked five times in the first half — four times on third down.
Columbus East would score three more times in the second quarter and carried a 27-0 lead into intermission. Jones, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior and the subject of a considerable amount of Division 1 recruiting interest, accounted for 201 yards of total offense in the first half.
He finished with 161 yards on 26 carries and added a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that helped the visitors gain a 21-0 advantage.
Turnovers were the Red Devils’ bugaboo once again. Allen, who carried the ball 11 times for 37 yards, was swarmed by East defenders each time he touched the ball and fumbled twice — once late in the game that Olympian defensive lineman Brock Greiwe scooped up in the end zone for the final score of the game.
Northern suffered what was believed to be a concussion during the first half of the contest and watched Jamal Britt take the offensive reigns from the sideline after intermission.
Britt also played well at times, completing 9 of 15 passes for 66 yards and rushing for 25 yards on four carries, but Jeffersonville failed to reach the end zone in the second half.
The status of Hines and Northern heading into next week’s regular season finale against Jennings County is up in the air, but Oldham said he felt all his weapons would be on the field in postseason play, which begins in two weeks.
“We’re going to wait and see what happens on Sunday,” Oldham said of the sectional draw. “It may mean we miss some kids next week, but we’re going to put it all out on the field for the first round of the sectional.”
The Red Devils host Jennings County in their regular-season finale next Friday night at Blair Field.
COLUMBUS EAST 41, JEFFERSONVILLE 0
Jeffersonville 0 0 0 0— 0
Columbus East 7 20 7 0—41
CE — Markell Jones 71 pass from Alex Cowan (Paul Baker kick); 1:28.
CE — JT Voelker 38 pass from Cowen (Baker kick); 11:15.
CE — Jones 1 run (Baker kick); 5:12.
CE — Voelker 14 pass from Cowen (kick failed); :28.
CE — Voelker 29 pass from Cowen (Baker kick); 7:52.
CE — Brock Greiwe fumble recovery (Baker kick); 2:43.
Jeffersonville: Cam Northern 2-6-13-0, Jamal Britt 9-15-66-0.
Columbus East: Cowen 6-9-168-3, McCarter 0-1-0-0, Jones 1-1-4-0.
Jeffersonville: Northern 8-41; Rowston 5-26, Dionte Allen 11-37, Isiah Mack 4-17, Britt 4-25.
Columbus East: Jones 26-161, Cowen 8-69, Voelker 1-0, O’Neal 5-31. RECEIVING
Jeffersonville: David Morales 2-15, Allen 4-26, Blanton 1-13, Damin Smith 3-21, Rowston 1-5.
Columbus East: Voelker 5-81, Jones 2-78.