Circleville started off started off grinding out a few yards but turnovers and special teams woes gave Washington Court House the opportunities it needed to pick up a 48-14 win Friday night.
“We had some issues that held us back there,” Circleville coach Luke Katris said. “I don’t know if it is just a case of the yips here at the beginning of a couple games. There are a lot of young kids playing and trying to sort through some emotions on Friday night. I’m hoping we can sort through that and play better here coming out of the gate.”
The Tigers (0-2) picked up a couple of first downs on their opening possessions eating up a couple good chunks of the clock and, in between, held Washington Court House (2-0) on a short field and forced the Blue Lions into a field goal attempt that fell short.
WCH’s second possession was a nine-play drive, it’s longest of the night, that ended with Jameson McCane scoring from four yards out.
A misplayed kickoff gave the Blue Lions the ball back on a short field.
Circleville stopped that drive when Wyatt Thatcher recovered a fumble but WCH got the ball back two plays later after an interception — the first of five Circleville turnovers on the night.
That set up a four-play scoring drive.
A fumble on Circleville’s next possession set up a seven-play scoring drive for the Blue Lions.
After a three-and-out for Circleville, Washington Court House executed a five-play, 43-second scoring drive to make the score 27-0 just before the half.
Washington Court House added three more touchdowns in the third quarter.
The Tigers got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter as they put together a nine-play drive that covered 70 yards. It was keyed by a 20-yard run from Lucky Donaldson and ended with Colin Michael scoring from a yard out with 4:08 left in the game. Scott Moats ran in the conversion to make the score 48-8.
Circleville then stopped WCH on downs with 1:01 left in the game.
Donaldson ran for 27 yards and Moats then ran for eight to cap the game’s scoring with 15 seconds left.
“That’s the one thing I love about my guys, we’re going to play a whole game and no matter what, we’re going to play hard,” Katris said.
Donaldson ended the night as Circleville’s leading rusher with 71 yards on 11 carries.
Ethan Rogers-Wright was the night’s top performer as the Blue Lions’ quarterback threw for 212 yards and four touchdowns as well as running for another 54.
Washington Court House ended the night with 404 yards of offense while Circleville had 164, all coming on the ground.
The Tigers will look to regroup before heading out to Westfall next week. The Mustangs (0-1) host Logan Elm (1-0) tonight in the Tackling Cancer game.
“It’s one of those fun games,” Katris said. “That’s a thing I love about coaching in Pickaway County, there’s a lot of fun in coaching the county games.
“The kids all know each other, there’s a closeness in the communities and you always get the good banter back and forth between the kids and the schools. It’s fun, it’s what football should be and that’s how communities should play it out.”