On Friday, the East Tartans won a home victory over the Symmes Valley Vikings for their senior night. A combination of excellent defense on the Tartans’ side and a Symmes Valley team plagued by penalties interacted for a 22-18 Tartan victory.
Interestingly enough, the passing game proved to be a serious portion of each team’s game. The cause for the prominence of the passing game were two defenses that were keyed to the playmakers at running back. East head coach Matt Miller mentioned how his team had spent time leading up to the game working to diversify their playbook because of how teams were focusing on their running back, Kyle Flannery. The defenses played excellently, especially the Tartan defense when put under pressure. The Symmes Valley defense stopped East on five out of seven drives. The Tartans were able to shut down the Viking offense on six out of nine drives.
The start to the game did not match the conclusion as it began with an East fumble on their first offensive play. From there, however, the first half proved to be to East’s advantage. The Tartans were able to score twice in the first half and go to the locker room with a 16-0 shutout lead at the break. Their second score prior to the halftime whistle came from an 85 yard interception return by Kyle Flannery as time expired in the second quarter.
The game looked to be close to a total rout going into the second half, but that meant little to the hard fighting Vikings. Viking coach Rusty Webb called Symmes Valley’s second half a “whale of a second half”. Symmes Valley came out with a vengeance in the third quarter and quickly scored on a 62 yard run by quarterback Jack Leith. This was followed by another score from East. Then, Symmes Valley was able to score twice unanswered by the Tartans defense.
With 2:48 on the clock, the Vikings lined up for what would appear to be the final kickoff of the game. The Tartans were prepared for an onside kick, but Symmes Valley was able to recover the ball after a mad rush and collision with the Tartan frontline. Beginning on the Tartan 46, the Vikings began one final drive down the field. A pair of runs by, first, Keifer Wilson and then Josh Ferguson resulted in the Vikings scrapping to the 32 yard line. East’s defense looked to be on their heels, but the next pair of passes were completed for little gain thanks to tackles on both plays by Luke Bradley. Still, this brought the Vikings into the red zone and they took their chances in the air by throwing three passes towards the endzone that were all pushed to incompletion by East’s defensive backs. The Tartans were the winners thanks to this defensive last stand and had held their home field from a final Viking assault.
The East Tartans improve to 3-6 with their win and will go to Spartan Stadium to face off against Notre Dame next Friday night in the Titans senior night contest.
Symmes Valley, now 4-5, will finish their season at home where they will play the Northwest Mohawks.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT