By Carl Holcomb
The Cougars overcame a slow start before revving the engines for a 35-nil halftime lead en route to cruising past Clay-Battelle
59-12 on Friday night (September 2) in Baker.
“I’m very excited about our momentum. I am pleased, but Clay-Battelle gave us a handful up front. They were able to bottle us
up in the box, so we had to fall back on our passing game. I use the term ‘fall back’ loosely, because one week it is our priority
and the next week it is secondary. We always want to establish the run game, because it opens up the game for us. They kept
pounding. Our pass game was effective only because of our linemen. Hats off to them. They are outnumbered in the box and
still doing their thing. Mason making checks at the line and making audibles. We had more drops out there than I’d like to see,
but we had other guys step up. The dynamic thing about us this year is when one guy doesn’t have a hot hand, we have three
or four guys to fall back on to make plays for us. I was pleased with our execution to an extent, but there are things we can
always improve. I will never be disappointed with a win,” East Hardy coach Devon Orndorff stated.
East Hardy started at its own 27-yard line and Tyler Tarallo took the handoff from quarterback Mason Miller and was tackled for
a loss by Clay-Battelle’s Matthew Gadd.
There was defensive pass interference on the ensuing play resulting in a first down at the 38-yard line.
Tarallo rushed for seven yards, then Dawson Price recorded a first down catch of 11 yards on a throw by Miller into Cee-Bees
territory at the 44-yard line.
Clay-Battelle’s Zachary Hall deflected the next pass, then Tarallo added four yards on the ground.
East Hardy’s Price Strawderman was tackled for a loss by Jacob Kassay forcing a fourth down and the Cougars failed to make a
pass connection for a turnover on downs.
Clay-Battelle took over at the 41-yard line and Hall was chased out of bounds by Tarallo for no gain.
Dawson Price made an interception for the Cougars and returned the ball to the 36-yard line.
East Hardy’s Brandon Jones made a catch for two yards, then Strawderman rushed for two yards.
East Hardy’s Ashton Haslacker collected a 14-yard pass from Miller for a first down in Cee-Bees territory at the 46-yard line.
Haslacker’s number was called again and he delivered with a 36-yard catch dodging defenders deep into the red zone being
stopped at the ten yard line by Clay-Battelle’s Mason Chisler.
The Cee-Bees denied a touchdown as Carson Shriver made an interception in the end zone with 5:59 remaining in the first
quarter and returned it to the 14-yard line.
Clay-Battelle’s Maddox Shriver rushed for two yards and was tackled by East Hardy’s Mason Miller.
Carson Shriver was forced out of bounds on a three yard loss, then an incomplete pass led to a three-and-out punt for the Cee-
Haslacker returned the punt to the Clay-Battelle 30-yard line for great field position.
East Hardy’s Brandon Jones made catch for 29 yards and was stopped just short of the goal line by Hall.
Price Strawderman punched the ball into the end zone from one yard out with 4:38 left in the first quarter and Dawson Price
added the extra point for a 7-nil lead.
East Hardy’s defense clamped down as Miles Kidwell, James Shipe and Tyler Tarallo made a tackle for loss on Hall, then Tarallo
tracked down Shriver after three yards gained back to the original line.
Justin Parker applied pressure as the pass went awry leading to a punting situation.
Price blocked the punt and the ball was recovered by Parker at the Cee-Bees 11-yard line.
East Hardy quarterback Mason Miller executed a keeper and rushed for ten yards with a dive reaching across the goal line, but
ruled down at the one yard line.
There was a personal foul face mask penalty, then a false start.
Miller finished the short field with a seven yard touchdown run at the 2:30 mark and Price added the extra point for a 14-0
East Hardy won the onside kick which was collected by kicker Price at the 47-yard line.
After a pass went askew, Damien Dellinger caught a screen pass for a two yard loss.
Jones caught a pass for eight yards and the Cougars now faced fourth down and short.
Miller converted the fourth down on an eight yard run.
Haslacker snatched a 13-yard pass and made spin moves to avoid tackles reaching the red zone and an incompletion ended
the first stanza.
Tarallo hauled in a 19-yard catch to begin the second quarter and Clay-Battelle’s Maverick Gum made touchdown saving tackle
at the one yard line.
After a fumble and false start, Miller rolled outside and located Price for an eight yard touchdown pass at 10:56 and Price at the
extra point for a 21-0 lead.
Both teams traded punts with a total time of two minutes and change elapsing.
Clay-Battelle picked up one first down on the ensuing possession, then faced a fourth down at the 34-yard line and a bad snap
on the pun resulted in Carson Shriver trying to make something out of nothing and nearly pulled off gaining a first down coming
up just inches shy of the marker.
East Hardy struck pay dirt on the first play with a 37-yard touchdown catch by Haslacker at the 4:14 mark and Price added the
extra point for a 28-nil advantage.
Clay-Battelle reached Cougars territory on a run by Maddox Shriver, but the possession sealed on stops by Dellinger, Jacob
Gainer and Haslacker leading to a punt with 1:24 remaining.
The Cougars started at the 23-yard line and Price caught a pass for 19 yards dodging some tackle attempts.
There were three straight incompletions and only 44 seconds left, then Miller connected with Levi Price for 13 yards and a first
down in Cee-Bees territory at the 45-yard line and timeout was called with 35 seconds to go.
Miller scrambled away from danger and found Haslacker, who hurdled a fallen Price and dodged tacklers before being shoved
near the sidelines at the two yard line by Hall and made a diving effort to the pile-on on the 43 yard reception ending up at the
two yard line with 24 seconds left.
Miller garnered the two yard touchdown keeper with 21 second remaining and Price added the extra point for a halftime score of
Clay-Battelle commenced the third quarter at the 22-yard line and buzzed 78 yards on ten plays for a touchdown against the
Cougars second team defense.
Clay-Battelle’s Carson Shriver capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run at the 8:11 mark and the extra point attempt
failed for a 35-6 score.
Haslacker returned the kickoff 75 yards to the eight yard line for the Cougars.
After a false start, Brayden Gregory notched two yards.
An offensive penalty backed up scrimmage to the 17-yard line and there were two straight incomplete passes for a fourth down
East Hardy elected to try a 35-yard field goal and Price’s kick was good at 6:37 to create a 38-6 lead.
Cee-Bees responded on the ensuing possession as Maverick Gum scored from six yards out at the 1:43 mark to cut the deficit
East Hardy’s Mason Miller added a 45-yard touchdown and Price’s kick made it 45-12.
The Cougars added two more touchdowns in the fourth quartet as Shawn Bodkin scored rushing touchdowns from 42 yards and
25 yards plus added a two-point conversion for a 59-12 final victory.