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Eastern rolls on the ground, earns 34-7 win vs. Belpre

BELPRE — If it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

That’s the philosophy Eastern had in its Friday night 34-7 win over Belpre. In BHS’s final home game of the year, Eastern came in and asserted itself on the ground to the tune of 417 yards on 58 total carries and five scores. The action on the ground accounted for the team’s entire offense, as Belpre tried to keep up early. Following Blake Newland’s first of three scores (a 62-yard scamper), Belpre’s Connor Baker fired back on the other end of the field with an 8-yard run to knot the game at 7. After that, it was all Eastern.

Newland led the way with 202 yards on 23 rushes, as he was followed by teammate Steve Fitzgerald with 112 on 18 carries. That duo led the visiting Eagles on a 34-0 run to cap off the game. Belpre head coach Lance Binegar saw his team didn’t have an answer for the visitors, but he wants to keep the optimism up, as they enter a Friday night season finale at Waterford at 2-3.

“They were a very physical team. (Steve Fitzgerald) is a heck of a football player. They pounded it down our throat, and we didn’t have an answer, but we did good things on offense,” he said. “We’ve just got to put it all together now when it all comes into play. When I first took over, people probably thought we were the worst team you’ve ever seen. We’ve been running a lot more and getting in good shape. The kids are still buying in, and they want to be here, so that’s a great thing for the team. Hopefully, we just keep carrying it over, and carrying it over. Hopefully, we can get on top.”

While the Golden Eagles didn’t win, they did see a 100-yard receiver in Dylan Cox. He caught deep throws from Walker Feick to bring his tally to two catches for 116 yards. Still, Eastern (3-2) has a home playoff game hanging in the balance, and head coach Pat Newland wants his team focused and ready for Southern.

“We really wanted to work on our ground game. We wanted to be physical, and we wanted to work on being physical. That’s what we did tonight. If people start keying in on Steve, then we go back to Blake. They start keying on Blake, and we go back to Steve. It’s like thunder and lightning. It’s a good 1-2 punch,” he said of tonight’s game plan before talking about next week’s battle. “I don’t care if it’s a home playoff game, it’s Eastern-Southern. Every year, it’s just a battle. They coach those guys really well down there, and we just want to go in and keep our momentum. We want to take this rivalry.”

Friday’s regular-season finale at home against the Tornadoes carries a lot of weight, and Blake Newland spoke about the team’s rushing attack and what this next game means to him.

“Well, we wanted to really establish the run game, and just show the whole league. We wanted to get our run-game perfected before we get in the playoffs,” he said. “The (Southern) game is a very important game. I believe we’re probably going to do the same thing we did tonight. We’re going to overpower them with our run, and get everything looking good before we get into the playoffs.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

Eastern 34, Belpre 7

EHS (3-2) 7 14 13 0 –34

BHS (2-3) 7 0 0 0 –7

E: Blake Newland 62 run (Will Oldaker kick good) 10:47 1st

B: Connor Baker 8 run (Tyce Church kick good) 5:47 1st

E: Steve Fitzgerald 1 run (Oldaker kick) 10:15 2nd

E: Newland 3 run (Oldaker kick) 3:50 2nd

E: Fitzgerald 4 run (Oldaker kick) 4:54 3rd

E: Newland 12 run (Brad Hawk kick failed) :51 3rd

Team stats

EHS BHS

First downs 17 8

Rushes-yards 58-417 26-55

Passing yards 0 162

Total yards 417 217

Passing 0-2-1 4-16-1

Punts-average 2-38.5 5-31.6

Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0

Penalties-yards 9-55 1-6

Individual stats

Rushing: (EHS) Blake Newland 23-202, Steve Fitzgerald 18-112, Colton Combs 9-62, Will Oldaker 3-9, Brady Yonker 1 (-1) (BHS) Connor Baker 10-22, Cody Daugherty 6-26, Walker Feick 8-5, Willis Starcher 1-1; Passing: (EHS) Conner Ridenour 0-2; (BHS) Walker Feick 3-6 105 yards, Connor Baker 1-4 57, Cody Daugherty 0-1; Receiving (BHS) Dylan Cox 2-116, Baker 1-14, Daugherty 1-32

Next game: Belpre at Waterford, 7 p.m. Friday; Southern at Eastern, 7 p.m. Friday

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