by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
Circleville executed its game plan to near perfection to start Friday’s game, but miscues on Tigers special teams and an effective Amanda-Clearcreek passing game led to the Aces coming out on top 49-13.
“Coach Evans and their staff are doing such a great job, They had a really, really good game plan,” AC coach Steve Daulton said. “We’re trying to get our best personnel on the field and it’s still a work in progress and we’re not satisfied with where we’re at on both sides of the ball.”
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and covered 80 yards in 11 plays with Parker Kidwell scoring from 31 yards out. The PAT kick failed leaving Circleville up 6-0.
“It’s the things we’ve been working on all season long and they’re finally starting to see some of those things take place. We thought we had a good game plan put together and the kids came out fantastic and executed it,” Circleville coach Steve Evans said.
The teams traded possessions before the Aces mounted an 86-yard, nine play drive that culminated with a nine-yard scoring run from Nate Hunter. Jonathan Weaver’s kick gave AC a 7-6 lead.
A few plays later, the Tigers had the first of three costly problems in the punting game. A high snap led to punter Keith Kelly being unable to get the kick off. He scrambled for five yards but that gave the ball to the Aces at Circleville’s 20-yard line.
Hunter connected with Tayvon Miller on first down for a touchdown.
At the end of Circleville’s next possession, the punt was angling to the sideline, took a bounce backwards and then AC’s Grant Guiler scooped up the live ball and raced 44 yards down the sideline to put AC up 21-6.
“There’s zero excuse not to play real hard and not to be prepared,” Daulton said. “That’s a situation we’ve talked about for four years and it’s never once come up. And tonight there it was and we might not see it again for another five years.
“Every team makes mistakes, but if you’ re not able to capitalize off them, then shame on you. So really proud of the kids for being able to do that tonight.”
Circleville bounced back by covering 55 yards in six plays with Scott Moats connecting with Nolan West for a 12-yard touchdown. Nick Burns’ PAT kick made the score 21-13, which is where it stood at the half.
“We had Mikey (senior lineman Michael Clark) go down there and it really took a lot of wind out of our sails,” Evans said. “We had kids step up — we threw a freshman in to the ranks and we continued to battle.
“We had a chance to get put away pretty early. We came back and got a big score before halftime and were only down one score coming out of the half.”
AC opened the second half with a seven-play drive that covered 61 yards and finished with Hunter hitting Peyton Cassley for a 28-yard score.
The Aces held Circleville to a three-and-out when the Tigers’ third miscue in the punting game occurred. Kelly had to chase down a high snap and was downed at the 1-yard line. Hunter Matheny covered that yard on the next play for the Aces. Weaver’s kick put AC up 34-13.
“That’s why we talk about all three aspects of the game. It’s the ultimate team game,” Evans said. “In order to be successful, you have to be able to execute in all three phases. One’s not more important than other and tonight really proved it.
“Special teams really let us down tonight and got us in a hole. We’re still in the learning process.”
The Aces added scores on a 17-yard run from Hunter and a one-yard run from Guiler in the fourth quarter.
After the Aces fell 34-7 to Bloom-Carroll last week, Daulton credited the senior class for helping the Aces bounce back to get the win Friday.
“That’s 100 percent because of our senior class,” Daulton said. “They came in Saturday morning and Monday afternoon for practice and their attitudes run our locker room. They were ready to get back to work and not allow that hold them back. That was entirely because of them and we had a very good week of practice.
“I’m so proud of them, what they do for us and the leadership they give.”
Hunter, one of those seniors, connected with seven receivers Friday on a night where he was 17-25 for 222 yards. He also carried the ball nine times for 64 yards.
Circleville quarterback Scott Moats led the Tigers with 78 yards rushing on 14 carries and threw for 56 yards.
“I know the scoreboard doesn’t show it, but we did a lot of good things tonight,” Evans said he told his team. “That’s what we’re going to focus on in film tomorrow.”
Circleville (2-4, 0-3) hosts Teays Valley (6-0, 3-0) next week. The Vikings shutout Hamilton Township (3-1, 2-1) 33-0 Friday.
The Aces (4-2, 2-1) host Hamilton Township next week.
Amanda-Clearcreek 49, Circleville 13
By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Amanda-Clearcreek 0 21 14 14 49
Circleville 6 7 0 0 13
CV — Parker Kidwell 31 run (kick failed), 6:53.
AC — Nate Hunter 9 run (Jonathan Weaver kick), 10:15.
AC — Tayvon Miller 20 pass from Nate Hunter (Jonathan Weaver kick), 9:06.
AC — Grant Guiler 44 punt return (Jonathan Weaver kick), 4:43.
CV — Nolan West 12 pass from Scott Moats (Nick Burns kick), 1:44.
AC — Peyton Cassley 28 pass from Nate Hunter (Jonathan Weaver kick), 9:36.
AC — Hunter Matheny 1 run (Jonathan Weaver kick), 7:10.
AC — Nate Hunter 17 run (Jonathan Weaver kick), 9:56.
AC — Grant Guiler 1 run (Jonathan Weaver kick), 3:58.
First downs 18 12
Rushing yards 25-148 41-136
Passing yards 222 56
Comp.-Att.-Int 17-25-1 9-15-0
Total yards 370 192
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-0
Penalties-Yards 5-62 3-31
Punts-Ave. 1-41 6-32
RUSHING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Nate Hunter 9-64, Hunter Matheny 7-52, Grant Guiler 8-34. Circleville — Parker Kidwell 17-63, Scott Moats 14-78, Angelo Travis 4-13, Keith Kelly 2-(-22), Wyatt Thatcher 1-1, Drew Thornsley 2-3, Austin Gray 1-0.
PASSING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Nate Hunter 17-25-1-222. Circleville — Scott Moats 9-15-0-56.
RECEIVING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Hunter Matheny 1-11, Grant Guiler 2-28, Trent Hedges 1-6, Peyton Cassley 5-69, Brady Sharp 2-45, Tayvon Miller 3-27, Cade Young 3-26. Circleville — Nolan West 4-33, Keith Kelly 1-7, Wyatt Thatcher 4-16.