After an early Friday evening appetizer of a steady power run game, East head coach Brandon Matich dialed up the main deep shot course at halftime to break open East’s 29-7 win over Olympus.
Tucker McCormick sold a fake to get the defense to bite down and launched a ball to Spencer Black — who tipped it to himself one-handed and cruised 79 yards for the score. Three additional rushing touchdowns and a defensive shutout in the second half led East to the convincing victory.
“We knew we’d get it eventually,” Black said. “They just kept biting on the run so we just caught them lacking and that’s about it.”
The Leopards were sloppy early on offensively — fumbling twice and tossing an interception — but Olympus couldn’t take advantage. The Titans missed a 28-yard field goal after recovering the first fumble and had a second 53-yard field goal blocked post recovery of the second fumble.
The teams traded punts until East pieced together a nine play, 64-yard drive with a varied rushing attack from Amini Amone and Omar Shah. McCormick capped the drive off with a 1-yard scoring drive and Amone converted a two-point attempt to make it 8-0 with 3:20 left in the first half.
“The offensive line isn’t huge but they’re strong, they’re tough, they’re physical, they’re athletic and they’re fast,” Matich said. “I think they’re starting to click together and if we just stay healthy there, the sky is the limit for that offensive line.”
The Titans’ offensive attack struggled early but a big kick return on the ensuing drive and a direct snap rushing attack from Luke Bryant gained traction. Bryant swung a keeper laterally all the way to the East sideline before reversing course to cut all the way back for an 18-yard touchdown to answer and make it 8-7 with 2:23 left in the second quarter.
Olympus opened the second half with a long drive, but missed another short field goal that led to Black’s explosive touchdown catch.
After a fourth down defensive stop in the Olympus backfield from Papaseea Matelau, East chewed up clock with another long 10-play drive punctuated with an Amone 1-yard diving score to make it 22-7 with 8:09 left in the game.
A desperate Olympus offense tried to answer with a deep shot on the Titans’ next drive, but Black ran under a lofted Bryant ball and gathered it in for an interception.
“Hats off to the defense,” Matich said. “They really, really stymied that run game.”
Shah took the offensive mantle and rumbled around and through Olympus’ tackle attempts before galloping up the middle for a 9-yard touchdown to seal the win with 4:39 left in the game.
Now 2-0 in league play, East faces a big matchup with Brighton at home next Friday to determine who’ll be in the driver’s seat of Region 6.
“When we can minimize penalties and not get in our own way and step on our own feet, we’re going to be pretty tough,” Matich said.