After losing a heartbreaking 21-14 OT loss @ Concord, the Blazers bounced back in a big way with a 42-7 win over the Central Noble Cougars, which clinched their 6th Small School Division title in 7 years and ties a NECC record with their 15th NECC title (West Noble also has 15).
Right from the start, the Blazers defense that came in allowing just 6 points a game contained Will Hoover and the blue-collar Central Noble running game. After stagnating the Cougars to a couple punts from their own territory, the Blazers capitalized on a 5-yard TD run by Mike Firestine to give Eastside a 7-0 lead. Afted Laban Davis found Kyler Bigbee for a 12-yard reception, Max Holman punched it in from a couple yards to extend it to 14-0.
The deciding play of the night came with 53 seconds left in the first half, when CN was forced to punt on a 4th and long. Lane Burns caught the punt and returned it 65 yards to the CN 10-yard line. On the very next play, Davis connected with Wade Miller for a 10-yard TD reception and a 21-0 lead at the half.
In the 2nd half, Mike Firestine scored his 2nd TD run of the night from 4 yards out to make it 28-0 with 3:03 left in the 3rd quarter. But the Cougars, known for their scrappy, resilient play, kept fighting back and it eventually paid off when Sawyer Yoder connected a 85-yard TD pass to Ashton Smith with 30 seconds left in the 3rd.
But tonight proved to be the Blazers night. The defense never gave the Cougar run any kind of momentum to fuel a comeback. Then, Carson Jacobs scored on a pick 6 from over 52 yards out to make it 35-7. Wade Miller’s 2nd TD pass of the night wrapped up the scoring route for the Blazers.
Eastside (7-1) is scheduled to travel to Angola (5-1) to face a stingy and talented Hornets team, while Central Noble (4-4) travels to Garrett (2-5) to face the Railroaders. We are just under 2 weeks from sectional action in Indiana.