Senior running back Teron Washington rushed the ball 18 times for 91 yards and a touchdown for Beech Grove, but it was East Central, spearheaded by the junior duo of running back Jake Fike and quarterback Ryan Bond, who came away with a 49-15 win over the Hornets Friday night at Beech Grove’s TCU Veterans Stadium in the regular season finale for both teams.
The visiting Trojans got things going in the opening quarter with a five-yard TD run by Fike, who garnered 208 yards on 24 carries, to put them ahead 7-0. On the second play of Beech Grove’s opening possession, Washington fumbled the ball on a pitchout by quarterback Gavin Mitchell in the end zone, resulting in a fumble recovery and a score by East Central’s 6’2″, 225 lb. senior lineman Gage Ertel to extend the Trojan lead to 14-0.
In the second period, EC’s Bond threw the first of three touchdown passes of the night, a 12-yard hookup to wideout David Badescu, to widen East Central’s lead to 21-0. It looked as if the Trojans were initially going to walk all over Beech Grove in this non-conference affair, right? Wrong. The Orange and Black came alive in the second stanza when Washington atoned for his lost fumble with a 53-yard TD scamper up the middle, coupled with Keyonni Johnson’s extra-point run, to trim the Hornet deficit at 21-8. Then Mitchell got into the scoring act with a 68-yard run along the right sideline, bringing Beech Grove to within 21-15 after Angel Fonseca’s extra-point kick. East Central came into this contest allowing just 32 points all season (through eight games); however, the Hornets dropped 15 on the Trojans in one quarter alone.
Whatever momentum the Hornets (3-6) had heading into the second half would wind up in smoke, figuratively speaking. On the third play of Beech Grove’s opening drive of the half, Mitchell, who completed 4-of-8 passes for 52 yards and rushed 13 times for 56 more, suffered a broken collarbone, sidelining him for the rest of this season. Freshman Adonis Adams was summoned into the ball game and tried to carry the load, but was unable to as he was just 4-of-11 passing for 29 yards and threw one interception. Washington would also lose another fumble as Beech Grove was held scoreless the entire second half.
Meanwhile East Central (9-0), which completed its first undefeated season since 1994, when it won the first of two state titles, wore down the Hornets. Bond, who completed 11-of-14 passes for 152 yards, threw for two more touchdowns: to Badescu from 43 yards out and to wideout Mac Stader for an eight-yarder to pay dirt. Fike added a second touchdown, a two-yard scoring run, and backup fullback Nick Griffin found the end zone from six yards out to close out the scoring.
Junior Erik Perkins had a fumble recovery and an interception for East Central, one of the co-favorites to win the Class 4A state championship this year.
Speaking of the state tournament, Coach Mark Weller’s Hornets will try and salvage whatever remains of this frustrating season when they face Crispus Attucks in first-round action of the 2019 Class 4A Sectional 22 this Friday night at TCU Veterans Stadium. Tickets are $6.00, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Friday night’s clash will mark the first-ever meeting between the Hornets and the visiting Tigers on the gridiron.