If there was any doubt that Columbus East might overlook Jennings County and come out flat Friday night, the Olympians erased that idea on the opening kickoff.
Lance Greiwe ran the kick back 90 yards for a touchdown to catapult Class 5A No. 8 East to a 56-0 halftime lead. With the Olympians playing their junior varsity the entire second half, that also would be the final score in the their 79th consecutive Hoosier Hills Conference win.
“It’s always great to get off to great start like that,” Greiwe said. “The blocking there was great. Coach (Bob) Gaddis always says the first six minutes are crucial, so that was a great start.”
Greiwe went on to score four more rushing touchdowns in the first half. He ran 7 yards for a score on East’s first offensive possession and 45 yards on a one-play drive the second time the Olympians (2-2, 2-0) had the ball.
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Greiwe added scoring runs of 5 and 11 yards in the second quarter. He finished with 111 yards on nine carries in his first start since the season opener.
“He had a great night,” Gaddis said. “Lance is a young man we think can be really good. We had a lot of young kids step in tonight and play. It was a good team win.”
Cole Gilley threw a 48-yard scoring strike to Cody Horner in the first quarter. The other touchdowns came on runs of 5 and 38 yards from Mark McDonald.
East scored the first eight times in had the ball before twice taking a knee to end the first half.
“Defensively, we just didn’t tackle well,” Jennings coach Rick Zimmerman said. “Sometimes, we’d be there, and we’d fall off. It was about like the rain. It just kept pouring down.”
Gilley completed 5 of 6 passes for 111 yards. Horner caught two passes for 81 yards.
The second half was played with a running clock. Neither team managed a first down in the second half until each picked one up on their final possessions of the game.
“It was a weird week,” Gaddis said. “We had the vacation day (Monday) where we practiced in the morning. We had lightning Tuesday and Wednesday, and Wednesday, we didn’t get to go outside to practice. But it was a good one to come out and dominate early, and we did a lot of things well.”
The Panthers (1-3, 0-2) were playing without their starting tailback, Brooks Wathen, who has a torn ACL, along with their two starting wingbacks and cornerback Duncan Rowda because of injuries.
Owen Deaton led Jennings with eight carries for 22 yards. Lance Bailey went 4 for 16 passing for 27 yards, with three catches for 18 yards going to Jared Corya.
“It was a lot of missed assignments, and (East) had a lot to do with that,” Zimmerman said. “Our team speed really kills us. Their strength up front hurt us. We weren’t able to run the ball, and with it raining, we weren’t able to throw it. (East) did a great job and just flat-out beat us, but our lack of execution tonight was really bad.”