By Brad Morris
AMANDA — With Circleville coming off two losses to open Mid-State League Buckeye Division play, senior quarterback Scott Moats noticed an increased sense of urgency in practice this week.
“We got off to a great start offensively this season (averaging 42.3 points per game in the non-league), but the past two weeks have been rough on us where we made some mistakes and were shutout by the (varsity) defenses that Bloom-Carroll and Logan Elm have,” he said. “We used that as a wakeup call this week and worked on picking it up in practice, because we’ve worked too hard to allow this to happen.
“We came in here wanting to turn things around and create some momentum again to take into our last four games, which are all winnable if we play the football that we are capable of.”
Moats accounted for 365 yards of total offense and five touchdowns on Friday in leading the Tigers to a 50-19 win over host Amanda-Clearcreek.
“No. 10 is a tremendous young man. He has good character, and he does things the right way,” Amanda-Clearcreek coach Steve Daulton said of Moats. “It’s a reflection of how he was raised and how he has become a great young man in school and a leader for that program.
“We came into the game trying to account for him, but he can make people miss and kick it into another gear where it is difficult to catch him.”
The win was the first for the Tigers against the Aces since 2015 and snapped a six-game skid in the series. It was also the first time the Tigers have won in The Pit since 2012.
Amanda-Clearcreek had a rough start as they weren’t able to handle an opening squib kick that Mark Brunner recovered on the Aces’ 27-yard line.
Joe Streitenberger scored three plays later when he took a jet sweep around right end to score from nine yards out. The first of six extra points by Moats put the Tigers ahead 7-0.
The Aces, who are playing primarily underclassmen this season after graduating all but two starters, responded when Logan Stevens faked a handoff and busted through the line for a 53-yard gain that set up first-and-goal. Landon Covell scored two plays later on a four-yard run around left side to make it 7-6, following the failed extra point.
“We put ourselves in a tough spot with losing the opening kickoff. We’re a young team, but we’re now six games through the season and everyone we have is now an experienced varsity player,” Daulton said. “Are we undersized? Sure, but we can’t fix that overnight.
“We’re still struggling with some of our fundamentals and making too many mistakes, but I’ll give these guys credit that they keep battling and competing. We had another good week of practice and probably our best offensive practice on Wednesday that we’ve had all season. These guys are working hard to learn from our mistakes and to get better. They just have to keep grinding.”
Circleville countered with a nine-play drive that stretched 61 yards.
On third-and-nine, Moats dropped back looking to pass but pulled down the football, scrambled to his left and scored from 32 yards out to give the Tigers a 14-6 lead.
Amanda-Clearcreek opened the second quarter with Stevens intercepting a tipped pass to put the Aces on the Tigers’ 35-yard line. After a five-yard loss, the Aces executed a double pass from Drew Dossman to Taylon Conrad that Tommy Stai hauled in to cut the CHS lead to 14-12.
“We want the guys to have a little bit of fun and have some creative juice in practice, so that’s something we’ve been working on,” Daulton revealed. “When you dial up a play like that it is going to make you look either really smart or really dumb, because there are a lot of moving parts with completing two passes and making the reception.
“It provided us with a good spark, but it was too bad we couldn’t do anything after that.”
The Tigers faced a second-and-19 on their ensuing possession, but Moats quickly changed that by connecting with Nolan West on a flag route. West broke a tackle just after midfield and scored from 84 yards to put the Tigers in front 21-12.
The Circleville defense then stepped up to stop the Aces in the red zone.
A 49-yard pass from Dossman to Stevens down the middle of the field, followed by a five-yard carry from Landon Mills, gave the Aces second-and-five from the CHS 10.
Trentt Fulgham stepped up to drop Tanner Affolter for a two-yard loss and then sacked Dossman on fourth down to force a turnover on downs.
The Tigers capitalized on the momentum by using just four plays to cover 85 yards. Moats had carries of 34 and finally 42 yards to the house that gave the Tigers a 29-12 lead going into halftime.
“I told our guys all week that you can throw the records out, because Amanda’s kids are going to play with pride because of their tradition,” said Circleville coach Steve Evans, who is a 1993 graduate of Amanda-Clearcreek. “I have to tip my hat to Coach Daulton and their kids for putting together a pretty good first half, including defensively.
“When you look at our four scores in the first half, one of them was on a deep pass and two were on broken plays where Scott made something out of nothing.”
Circleville put the game away with three touchdowns in the third quarter on a one-yard run by Blair and carries of 28 and 59 yards by Moats to cap a run of 36 straight points.
“We made some adjustments at halftime, and I felt like our kids did a nice job of executing our plan in the second half,” Evans said.
Amanda-Clearcreek added its final score in the fourth quarter on a five-yard pass from Stevens to Stai. Brennan Rich added the extra point.
The Tigers outgained the Aces 475-281.
Moats had 13 carries for 237 yards and four touchdowns and completed 2 of 4 passes for 128 yards and a score. West made both receptions on a pair of flag routes.
“Our offensive line did an amazing job and worked their butts off,” Moats said. “Our coaches made good calls and then Jude and I made the right reads and stepped up when we needed to.”
Blair added 98 yards rushing on 19 carries and scored.
Dossman completed 8 of 16 passes for 115 yards for the Aces. Stevens made two receptions for 57 yards and added 53 yards rushing, Stai had two touchdown grabs for 45 yards and chipped in 47 yards rushing.
The Tigers (4-2, 1-2) complete their two-game road swing next week against Teays Valley (3-3, 2-1), which lost 24-17 last night to Hamilton Township. The Aces (0-6, 0-3) are on the road next week in Obetz to take on the Rangers (3-2, 2-1).
“As a coaching staff we are still learning what buttons to push and how to fire our guys up, because they did not win a whole lot coming up through the program,” Evans said. “After the game, they were all excited and I told them, ‘See, how much fun this is’.
“We’re battling and competing through adversity better than we did a year ago. Right now, we have to take it week-by-week and work on continuing to execute on offense and tackling soundly on defense if we want to get on a roll and finish the season like we want to.”
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 14 15 21 0 50
Am.-Clearcreek 6 6 0 7 19
CV — Joe Streitenberger 9 run (Scott Moats kick), 10:41.
AC — Landon Covell 4 run (kick failed), 8:16.
CV — Scott Moats 32 run (Scott Moats kick), 4:06.
AC — Tommy Stai 40 pass from Taylon Conrad (run failed), 10:58.
CV — Nolan West 84 pass from Scott Moats (Scott Moats kick), 8:02.
CV — Scott Moats 42 run (Angelo Travis run), 3:37.
CV — Jude Blair 1 run (Scott Moats kick), 8:02.
CV — Scott Moats 28 run (Scott Moats kick), 7:11.
CV — Scott Moats 59 run (Scott Moats kick), 0:40.
AC — Tommy Stai 5 pass from Logan Stevens (Brennan Rich kick), 7:38.
First downs 15 11
Rushing yards 41-347 31-116
Passing yards 128 165
Comp.-Att.-Int 2-4-1 11-20-0
Total yards 475 281
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 4-2
Penalties-Yards 6-50 5-45
Punts-Ave. 0-0 3-30.6
RUSHING – Circleville — Jude Blair 19-98, Scott Moats 13-237, Ashdon Rickard 4-6, Joe Streitenberger 1-9, Daniel Cutliff 1-(-9), Hudson Phalin 3-6. Amanda-Clearcreek — Logan Stevens 3-53, Tommy Stai 9-47, Landon Covell 4-(-6), Landon Mills 6-34, Drew Dossman 6-(-12), Tanner Affolter 3-2.
PASSING – Circleville — Scott Moats 2-4-1-128. Amanda-Clearcreek — Drew Dossman 8-16-0-115, Logan Stevens 2-3-0-10, Taylon Conrad 1-1-0-40.
RECEIVING – Circleville — Nolan West 2-128. Amanda-Clearcreek — Logan Stevens 2-57, Colton Westhoven 3-21, Tommy Stai 2-45, Brody Elder 3-45.
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