On a cold, rainy, miserable Friday night on the Grant and Blackford County line, the Eastbrook Panthers overcame a sluggish first half to win their sixth game in a row, defeating the Blackford Bruins by a score of 31-8.
After scoring on their first drive and forcing a turnover on Blackford’s second possession, the Panthers became stagnant, struggling with execution and focus.
Blackford ripped off a long run in the second quarter, putting the Bruins in the red zone. Blackford eventually scored, and after Eastbrook jumped offsides on the point after attempt, the Bruins elected to go for two, converting it and taking an 8-7 lead at halftime.
Despite the struggle on offense, the Eastbrook defense kept them in the game, and after a field goal on their opening series, the Panthers took control of the contest.
“It was really two completely different halves,” Eastbrook Head Coach Jeff Adamson said. “Guys were frustrated at halftime because it was really hard to get momentum going with all the penalties and so on. But we came out and scored on our first drive in the second half – a field goal from Lucas Shilts – and it just felt like in the second half every time we had the ball, we were able to move it down the field pretty well. We coasted from there.”
Wyatt Stephenson led the rushing attack with 130 yards on 29 carries, scoring once, while Dylan Bragg ran for a touchdown and 99 yards on 14 carries. Isaiah Dalton collected 79 yards and two touchdowns.
Eastbrook’s defense forced two fumbles, while Jason Hale recorded eight tackles.
The Panthers wrap up their regular season this coming Friday against Elwood.
“We want to finish strong going into the playoffs,” Adamson said. “The theme we’ve been preaching all year is getting 100 percent better each week, whether we are talking individually or the different units within the team. We’ve got a pretty tough sectional, so I think it’s important that we’re playing our best right now.”