East ousted by Caldwell


Michael Hamilton

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The East Tartans fell to the Caldwell Redskins 55-8 in the regional quarterfinals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Football Playoffs. On a soggy field in Caldwell, Ohio, the Tartans just couldn’t overcome a dominating Redskin offense and defense which caused five Tartan turnovers.

“We ran across a team that has the ability to win the Division VII State Championship,” said East Head Football Coach, James Gifford. “Their coach said to me out there (after the game) he said, ‘you guys are a great team. You’re exactly where we were at two years ago.’”

Even with the disappointing finish, Gifford was proud with his team’s bid into the postseason.

“We still appreciate the fact that we’re playing in Week 11, when a lot of teams in the state are not,” said Gifford. “We’ll learn from it, and we’ll get better as a result, from it, and then we’ll use it as momentum going into our offseason. We’re a young team, and we’re going to learn from this.”

Gifford said his team kept a positive attitude, despite the score of the game.

“Of the five games we’ve lost, we’ve done it with as much good attitude and effort as we did with the games we won,” said Gifford. “Really, I’m impressed as a head coach the way our players responded, just with a great attitude. They always went hard, no matter what.”

While the tartans lost the war against the Redskins in their regional quarterfinal meeting, they won some battles, which Gifford looks to improve on in future seasons.

“Next year, we’re excited already, and we’re going to work hard in the offseason and go at it,” said Gifford.

The Redskins caused five Tartan turnovers during the first half, in which everything went the way of the Redskins. Caldwell took advantage of all those turnovers, by scoring off four of the five. The last turnover of the first half came when Drew Lowe was intercepted by Caldwell on the one yard line.

That was the only turnover Caldwell was unable to turn into a score.

The disappointing first half for the Tartans saw only one trip to their opponent’s side of the field, which came in the last drive of the second quarter.

Caldwell quarterback Tanner Clark was involved in six of the eight Redskin touchdowns. Clark rushed for four scores, while connecting with Austin Mettler twice in the air for a couple of passing touchdowns.

Redskin running back Dalton Ivey recorded the other two Caldwell scores, rushing for each.

The Tartans would find the endzone in the fourth quarter, preventing a shutout. Junior running back for East, Zane Scott broke free from the Redskin defensive line scoring on a 27-yard run, which was then followed by a successful 2-point conversion run by Scott.

East will lose four seniors; Austin Craig, Tyler Aills, Josh Seibert, and Ty Scarberry.

“We’ve got four great seniors,” said Gifford. “We’re going to miss them real bad.”

East finishes the season with a 6-5 record, finishing fourth in the Southern Ohio Conference (SOC) Division I. This was the fourth appearance for the Tartans in the OHSAA Football Playoffs, where they have a record of 0-4.

Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931 or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82

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