Columbus East has earned the outright or the share of the Hoosier Hills Conference football championship since 2003.
The streak will continue for at least another season.
The Olympians once again displayed their dominance in all three phases Friday night by lighting up the scoreboard in a hurry, and giving Seymour zero chance at playing catch-up. The game went to a running clock in the second half in East’s easy 56-0 victory.
The win clinches at least a share of the HHC title, and the Olympians can clinch the outright title with a win at Madison on Friday.
“Our kids played well, and that’s been our goal since the beginning of the season, is to put ourselves in position to win the conference championship,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “Now, we’re in the position to win it outright next week, so I thought we came out and took care of business very well early and kept ourselves at the top.”
After the Olympians (6-2, 5-0) forced a punt, the offense had no trouble driving down the field on its first possession. The only defense against East in that drive was its own holding penalty calls. After the penalties, though, the Olympians scored from 21 yards out on a Mark McDonald run to put them ahead 7-0 following the Nathaniel Hedrick extra point.
East pinned the Owls deep in their own territory, and the defense did its job making a play. Chase Zapfe came up with an interception at the 12-yard line and would run it to the end zone for the pick-six to put the Olympians ahead 14-0 early in the first quarter.
On the ensuing possession, the East defense struck again when Elliott Koopman made an interception, but the Olympians couldn’t take advantage and were forced to punt.
East was back in business though on the next offensive possession when quarterback Malachi Parks went for two big runs that ended with a 34-yard touchdown run to extended the lead to 21-0.
Seymour didn’t have an answer to break the Olympians defense, and the Owls ended up fumbling the ball following a lateral pitch, and the Olympians recovered. East took advantage with a 5-yard touchdown run from McDonald to make it 28-0 with 1:06 left in the first quarter.
On the Olympians first possession of the second quarter, McDonald would score his third touchdown of the first half with a 16-yard run to increase the lead to 35-0 with 8:43 left in the half.
Seymour ended up with a big return on the ensuing kickoff, taking the ball all the way down to the 17-yard line in East territory. The Owls drove it down to the 3, but a goal-line stand by the Olympians kept the first-half shutout alive.
On the ensuing possession, East drove it all the way down the field with runs from McDonald and Tryce Villarreal. McDonald capped off the drive with a 5-yard run to make it 42-0.
Then on the next drive, Crase Bergman caught a pass from Parks for a 26-yard touchdown pass to make it 49-0. On the ensuing Owls possession, they coughed up the ball again, and Trent Henry was there to scoop up the fumble and ran it 31 yards for a touchdown to make it 56-0 at the half.
The Olympian defense forced five turnovers and had two defensive scores in the shutout.
“I thought our defense gave great effort, and I think they’ve gotten better as the season went on,” Gaddis said. “When we play fast, play together, we have a chance to be pretty good. Anytime you shut out a team like Seymour, they had scored a lot of points the last couple weeks, and our kids came out and played great on defense.”
With the running clock in play for the second half, East took out the majority of the starters for the rest of the game.