by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
A ball-control offense in the first half and strong defense was what Circleville needed to notch its first win of the season as the Tigers beat Amanda-Clearcreek 14-3 Friday night.
“It all started with our great week of practice,” Circleville coach Steve Evans said. “Our captains had a meeting on Monday before the coaches even talked about scouting reports or anything like that. They just talked about some things that were going on and needed addressed.
“I told the guys it means a lot more coming from you than it does from me because when it comes from someone who was voted a captain, people are going to respect it a lot more.”
The Tigers opened the game with the ball and added some excitement early with a hook-and-ladder play from quarterback Hudson Phalin where he threw to Jack Kline who lateraled the ball to Jacob Johnson for a 20-yard gain on the game’s second play. CHS picked up a first down on an AC penalty and wrapped up the drive with a nine-yard scoring pass from Phalin to Drew Thornsley.
“We knew they had a couple injuries last week so we weren’t sure what they would run defensively or what they would be doing defensively. We designed some things we thought we could be successful with and wanted to put a little trickery in it just to spice things up and try to get some energy,” Evans said. “We fell behind early almost every game, so we made the decision we were going to take the ball offensively and try to go down and score.”
After the Tigers forced the Aces to punt, it looked like they were going to extend the lead.
CHS put together a 16-play drive that moved all the way to the Aces 4-yard line before stalling. Payton Ford’s 19-yard field goal attempt was tipped and ended up a little short leaving the score at 7-0.
The next two possessions were three-and-outs. The Aces picked up a first down on their next possession but punted again.
Circleville put together another big drive as the Tigers ran 15 plays and got as close as the AC 13 before turning the ball over on downs with five seconds on the clock.
While the Tigers ran 42 plays in the first half to AC’s 16 and had possession of the ball for more than 16 minutes, the score at the break stood at 7-0.
After the teams traded punts to start the second half, it was AC’s turn for a big drive.
The Aces ran 17 plays that ate up eight minutes as they drove all the way down to the Circleville 3. Unable to find the endzone, the Aces took a 19-yard field goal from Hayden Dunn to make it 7-3 as time expired in the third.
The Aces caught a break when they recovered a Circleville fumble three plays later but gained only 11 yards on the ensuing possession before punting.
Circleville put together a 14-play drive that covered 73 yards but turned the ball over on downs at the AC 10 with 2:09 on the clock.
With 90 yards to go and not much time to cover them, the Aces went to the air but the first three attempts were incomplete. On fourth down, Thornsley brought the pressure and stripped the ball from Logan Stevens. Jack Sorrell fell on the loose ball at the AC 2.
Jacob Johnson ran it in for the Tigers on the next play and Ford’s PAT kick sealed the win.
“There was some miscommunication and some wrong timing and things like that,” AC coach Chet Saum said of his team’s struggle to find the end zone. “Our leading rusher and one of our better linemen were hurt this week. And Circleville came after us.
“We played very, very undisciplined. The seven points never should have been there. They got us with a hook-and-ladder and a drive continuing penalty.
“We were more than capable of taking away a ‘W’ and we shot ourselves in the foot,” he added. “Eventually we stood up when it was time, but our kids need to learn we can do that from the snap instead of waiting until they punch us in the face first.”
Circleville finished the night with 277 yards while the Aces had only 120.
The Tigers lost leading rusher Jude Blair to a shoulder injury on the second possession and Johnson stepped up to lead the team with 54 yards on 17 carries.
“JJ came in and I’m telling you that JJ could be a starting running back on most other teams. He did a fantastic job,” Evans said. “I told him at halftime when we knew Jude wasn’t coming back, I said you’re going to have to step up, you’re not coming off the field, you’ve got to be a warrior — you’re playing offense, you’re playing defense, you’re playing special teams. He said I’ve got you coach.”
Phalin was 16-29 passing for 142 yards. Jack Kline caught six of those passes and Thornsley caught five.
The Aces had 85 yards on the ground on 29 carries led by Landon Mills with 71 yards.
“We flew to the football tonight. We gang tackled, people were in position where they needed to be, and we made tackles,” Evans said. “We’ve been missing quite a few tackles and that didn’t happen tonight.”
The Tigers (1-4, 1-1) will go after their second victory next week when Teays Valley comes to town. The Vikings (2-3, 1-1) are coming off a 51-17 loss to Hamilton Township (5-0, 2-0). The Aces (2-3, 0-2) will have their hands full trying to get back in the win column as Hamilton Township comes for a visit.
Circleville 14, Logan Elm 3
By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Am.-Clearcrek 0 0 3 0 3
Circleville 7 0 0 7 14
CV — Drew Thornsley 9 pass from Hudson Phalin (Payton Ford kick), 8:45.
AC — Hayden Dunn 19 field goal, 0:00.
CV — Jacob Johnson 2 run (Payton Ford kick), 1:50.
First downs 8 15
Rushing yards 29-85 36-135
Passing yards 35 142
Comp.-Att.-Int 6-18-1 16-29-0
Total yards 120 277
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 8-62 1-5
Punts-Ave 5-35 2-33
RUSHING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Landon Mills 15-71, Logan Stevens 9-13, Landon Covell 4-1, Tanner Affolter 1-0. Circleville — Jude Blair 5-15, Jacob Johnson 17-54, Hudson Phalin 9-24, Jake Yancey 4-37, Drew Thornsley 2-5.
PASSING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Logan Stevens 6-17-1-35, Taylan Conrad 0-1-0-0. Circleville — Hudson Phalin 16-29-0-142.
RECEIVING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Landon Mills 2-8, Colton Westhoven 2-20, Tanner Affolter 1-7, Bodie Martin 1-0. Circleville — Jack Kline 6-69, Jacob Johnson 0-13, Drew Thornsley 5-29, Jacob Reichelderfer 2-6, Ben Rolfe 2-6, Brody Brisker 1-19.