SCIOTOVILLE — A streak was meant to be broken. Not the perfect season, the East Tartans wasted little time erasing any thoughts of an upset. However, the Tartans struggles against the Vikings — failing to secure a victory in the last eight meetings — never had a chance of reaching nine.
On a cold and damp evening, East ran away from Symmes Valley, winning 42-0 at Allard Park in Sciotoville on senior night.
East (9-0, 5-0) built up more than a 30-point lead in the second half, utilizing a running clock per Ohio High School Athletic Association rules. Drew Lowe, who became the school’s all-time leading passer in the first half, finished with 164 yards through the air after completing 7-of-13 pass attempts. Lowe threw all three of his touchdowns in the first 24 minutes to three different receivers.
”The football’s great but first of all, Drew is an outstanding kid, a true leader,” Tartans head coach James Gifford said. “At the start of the season, with Brady (Douthat) moving in from West, he had some doubt if he was going to be the starter. Here you are as a senior, after leading your team to the playoffs as a junior, and here comes this guy from another school and everyone starts saying he’s the guy. Drew didn’t let it get to him. He stayed focused.
“I can’t be more happy for Drew. He deserves every yard of (the passing record). He’s a good kid, great student. He does a bunch of community service work. He’s just a great kid.”
Leading the ground attack for the Tartans was Akia Brown who finished with 124 yards and two touchdowns.
”He’s a special player,” Gifford said. “He’s a player you don’t see very often at the high-school level. To be able to coach somebody like that for four years and to be his head coach for two years, it’s an honor and a privilege. The thing that people don’t know about Akia — they see all the yards — but he’s the most unselfish kid ever. He came to me at halftime, he said, ‘Coach, let me go one more series and then let my buddies go the rest of the game.’ He’s just a very unselfish kid.”
On his recording-breaking night, Lowe got the Tartans off to a fast start, finding Ethan Gifford on a 45-yard connection just 57 seconds into the game. The celebration came when the Viking defense was briefly confused as Symmes Valley forgot to line anyone up across from Ethan Gifford.
After Symmes Valley (2-7, 0-5) fumbled their first possession of the game, it was Brown’s time to go to work. Brown carried the rock two of the three plays, breaking the third play from 30-yards out to put East up 16-0 after the second straight two-point conversion.
The Tartans added one more score in the first quarter, a 25-yard touchdown pass from Lowe to Kanyan Bruton. With three minutes remaining before the break, Lowe threw his third touchdown, a 46-yard strike to Kyle Flannery. East led 28-0 at halftime after failing to convert its last two two-point conversions.
After quickly building the lead and maintaining the advantage throughout the game, the Tartans claimed a share of the SOC I title with an opportunity to win the title outright next week when East travels to Notre Dame.
“They’re a good team,” Gifford said. “They have good players. It’s a good school. It’s our rival of course. This is a huge game against our rival. We’re use to this with Notre Dame. The last six years, we’ve had to beat them twice just to get into the playoffs. We’re use to playing against Notre Dame in big games.
East — Gifford 45 yd pass from Lowe (Conversion good), 11:03
East — Brown 30 yd run (Conversion good), 7:46
East — Bruton 25 yd pass from Lowe (Conversion failed), 5:08
East — Flannery 46 yd pass from Lowe (Conversion failed), 3:04
East —Brown 64 yd run (Conversion failed), 8:35
East — Kingery 10 yd pass from Douthat (Conversion good), 3:45
Rushing — Symmes Valley:Sheppard 10-45, Holmes 8-28, Waugh 1-2, Hayes 2-1, Cade 5-(-5), Lucas 5-(-9); East: Brown 8-124, Scott 4-18, Douthat 3-18, Martin 1-9, Flannery 3-6, Kingery 1-5, Carver 2-5, Lowe 1-0
Passing — Symmes Valley: Lucas 5-16-70; East: Lowe 9-13-172, Douthat 1-2-10
Receiving — Symmes Valley:Brace 1-33, Angelo2-23. Holmes 2-14; East: Flannery 1-46, Gifford 1-45, Scott 2-37, Bruton 1-25, Brown 2-11, Kingery 1-10
Symmes Valley 2-7 (0-5); East 9-0 (5-0).