The Notre Dame Titans hosted the East Tartans at Spartan stadium Friday evening for the SOC conference championship game. The match up consisted of a powerful 9-0 Tartans team and a talented 7-2 Titans team. The East Tartans defeated the Titans after a long hard fought game, 32-26.
With calm weather, and a roaring Notre Dame crowd, the Titans were off to a very quick start on their opening drive with a 71-yard Sam Kayser touchdown run. The Tartans answered right back on their opening drive with an 85-yard touchdown completion to running back Akia Brown. Early into the first quarter, Notre Dame’s Sam Kayser intercepted a pass on East’s 28-yard line. This set the Titans up for their second touchdown with just two minutes into the game. After the first quarter, Notre Dame had the lead 20-14.
The Titans started the second quarter with a field goal to increase their lead. Soon after, East marched down the field to convert their third touchdown of the evening making the score 23-20 after a failed two-point conversion. Notre Dame had a promising drive going into half time, which ended in a missed 34-yard field goal.
Early into the third quarter, Tartans Akia Brown, returned an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown to take the first lead for them all night. Notre Dame’s responding drive resulted in another missed field goal to end the third quarter.
East started their fourth quarter with a solid drive which led to the teams fourth offensive touchdown on the night. Notre Dame answered back with a 41-yard field goal on the next drive making the score 26-32, East lead. East’s next possession quickly came to an end after Notre Dame did not let them advance the ball. With under three minutes left in the game, Notre Dame marched up the field and put themselves in scoring position. On 3rd and 6 yards to go, Sam Kayser throws an interception in the back of the end zone, and East had sealed their victory.
East high school’s head football coach James Gifford said “Penalties really affected us tonight and that has been an issue all season long. We have certainly cleaned our penalties up from weeks in the past but it is something that we need to continue to work on heading into the playoffs. Besides that, we ran the ball straight at them like we thought we could, and when something needed to be open, it was.”
Akia Brown had 153 yards rushing with two touchdowns on the ground. Brown also did well in special teams tonight adding another touchdown for the Tartans.
Gifford said “Akia Brown speaks for himself. He is a four year in a row, 1000 yard rusher and he is always in our game plan. He is very hard for teams to stop. He was big tonight and this was a huge win for us. Coming into Spartan stadium, capping off an undefeated season beating our rivals, and getting a home game for our first playoff game is really exciting.”
The East Tartans look to continue their success this season with playoffs starting. The Tartans finished their regular season with an undefeated 10-0 record.