Football Friday night was Homecoming night at McClain field and found the Tigers facing the East Clinton Astros as the fourth week of high school football rumbles in. The night was abuzz with excitement as the homecoming festivities took place before the game. With perfect weather and both teams pumped and ready to play, the electricity was in the air.
The Tigers won the coin toss and elected to receive. After taking the line drive kickoff deep in their own territory, the McClain offense began moving left to right across the field but quickly sputtered with a quick set of downs ending their opening drive with a Bergstrom punt to the East Clinton 33 yd line.
In the Astros first possession, their game plan became immediately clear; run the football, and run they did. Running back Todd Wedding #24, put the team on his back and ran wild against the Tiger defense. After seven running plays, Wedding ran the ball in from the 1-yard line to give the Astros the first score of the night. Davis’ try was good, and the score was 7-0 Astros with 4:39 on the clock in the first quarter.
Greenfield received the kickoff and put together a nice drive. Runs from Dalton Mischal and QB Braden Wright moved the ball effectively culminating with a 17 yd touchdown run by Mischal to put the Tigers on the board early in the second quarter. Bergstrom’s try tied the score at 7-7 with 11:54 on the clock.
East Clinton took the kickoff deep in their own end and started their drive on their own 22-yard line. After runs of 7, 5, and 18 yards, QB Jared Smith hit #10 Jaden Singleton on a short pass that turned into a nice 29-yard gain to the Tiger 20 yard line. Four more successive runs moved the ball to the 7 where on the next play QB Smith hit #18 Kaleb Kingery for the score. With Davis’ extra point the scoreboard read East Clinton 14, McClain 7 with 7:17 remaining in the second.
On a nice kickoff run back, the Tigers began their third possession with nice field position on their own 46. Two short runs and a pass to Mischal made it fourth and inches for the Tigers. After a timeout to discuss their strategy, Coach Jake Orr-Zody takes the chance and goes for it on fourth down. A quick pitch to Matt Bliss on the left side saw another measurement prove the run successful with a first down at the Astro’s 46-yard line. The new series of downs was unproductive, and the Tigers again found themselves facing fourth down with Coach Orr-Zody again electing to go for it on 4th and 6. A hard count by Tiger QB Braden Wright forced the Astros offsides making the 4th and 1 a much higher percentage play. It was not to be as the Astro defense held and took over on downs on their own 36-yard line.
East Clinton did not waste any time coming down the field with less than a minute left in the half. However, several short runs, a Tiger sack and an incomplete pass sent the teams to the locker room.
The third quarter began with East Clinton going away from their run scheme with two long passes to open the second half which resulted in their first punt on the evening. Greenfield took possession on their own 15-yard line but was unable to make any progress, punting the ball on their second series back to the Astros.
Four straight runs by Wedding put the Astros on the one-yard line where QB Jared Smith punched it in for the East Clinton touchdown. Davis’ extra point was blocked, and the score stood at 20-7.
The Astros would go on to score once more with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter to put the game away for good. The Tiger defense was unable to stop the running assault of East Clinton’s Todd Wedding and company who ended up with 309 yards rushing as a team. Wedding proved tough and durable claiming 204 of those rushing yards for himself.
In contrast, McClain ran the ball for 132 yards and had only 20 yards passing. The inability to stop the rushing game of East Clinton this evening proved to be the story of the game for the Tigers.
The Tigers fall to 1-3 overall and will travel to Eastern Pike next Friday. The East Clinton Astros improve to 2-2 on the year and will face Minford at home next week.