LEES CREEK — After struggling to run the football in a week one loss to Clinton-Massie, Blanchester Head Coach Brandon Sammons knew his team had to fix its rushing attack.
Blanchester rushed for 205 yards Friday night, scoring 34 unanswered points to defeat East Clinton 47-33 and give Sammons his first varsity head coaching victory.
East Clinton (0-2) converted two Blanchester first half turnovers into 13 points. Brendan Jenkins scooped up an errant pitch and rumbled 64-yards to give the Astros a 13-7 lead.
The Wildcats answered when Tristan Greene threw a pass down the sideline that was tipped by East Clinton’s Wyatt Floyd and caught by Nick Hopkins. Hopkins scampered the rest of the 48 yards for the Blanchester touchdown.
The Astros regained the lead when Jenkins found Floyd for a 10-yard touchdown. EC led 20-13 with 8:47 left in the first half.
Blanchester answered with an eight-play drive that ended with a Greene 5-yard touchdown run. Blan and EC were tied at 20 with 5:55 left in the first half.
After the Astros missed a 22-yard field goal, Blanchester went 80 yards in 7 plays and 1:02. Greene scrambled, spun, broke a tackle, and found a wide open Quenton Miller for a 30-yard touchdown. Blanchester led 27-20 at the half.
“We gave them a couple scores early,” Sammons said. “We knew we could come back from it. We knew from scouting that they couldn’t really cover our deep ball.”
After rushing for 88 yards in the first half, Blanchester rushed for 117 yards in the second half. The Wildcats scored on three of their first five possessions in the half to put the game out of reach.
“We tried to wear some of their big boys down up front,” Sammons said. “Second half, we had a chance to impose our will on them.”
After playing nearly mistake-free football in the first half, East Clinton had two second half turnovers.
“One thing we have trouble with is holding our composure,” EC Head coach Jeremy Yankey said. “We’ll have good things happen and we’re fine, but as soon as a bad thing happens, we start to hang our heads.”
The Astros did add two late scores on two Brendan Jenkins touchdown runs.
In the end, for the second week in a row, big plays by the opposing offense hurt the Astros.
“Giving up the big plays … it was the same thing last week against Batavia,” Yankey said. “If we can stop the big play, we’re OK. It just seems like we have that one letdown every drive that kills us. We can’t overcome it.”
Blanchester continues a three-game road trip Friday at Waynesville. East Clinton plays the second of three straight at home against Greeneview.
September 2, 2016
@East Clinton High School
Blanchester 47, East Clinton 33
EC – Brendan Jenkins 2-yard run (kick failed) 8:18
B – Nick Hopkins 85-yard kickoff return (Dakota Penquite kick) 8:03
EC – Jenkins 64-yard fumble return (Austin Arellano kick) 3:14
B – Tristan Greene 48-yard pass to Hopkins (kick failed) 50.7
EC – Jenkins 10-yard pass to Wyatt Floyd (Arellano kick) 8:47
B – Greene 5-yard run (Penquite kick) 5:55
B – Greene 30-yard pass to Quenton Miller (Penquite kick) 1:05
B – Hunter Collier 10-yard run (Penquite kick) 7:05
B – Greene 9-yard run (kick failed) 5:05
B – Brent Hopkins 5-yard run (Penquite kick) 8:42
EC – Jenkins 5-yard run (Arellano kick) 4:30
EC – Jenkins 1-yard run (no conversion) 0.0
PLAYS: EC 68; B 49. FIRST DOWNS: EC 19; B 22. RUSHES-YARDS: EC 39-196; B 30-205. PASSING YARDS: EC 170; B 226. COMPLETIONS-ATTEMPTS-INTERCEPTIONS: EC 14-30-1; B 12-19-1. TOTAL YARDS: EC 366; B 431. PENALTIES-YARDS: EC 4-30; B 7-60. FUMBLES-LOST. EC 1-1; B 2-2.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.