Eagles soar by Fighting Scots

By Tyler Trumbauer
Sports Editor

JEFFERSON CITY, Tn. Head coach Scott Browning informed his players before their tilt with Carson-New- man University that it is a fact that the team that turns over the ball the least wins 90 percent of the time. 

Last Thursday, his Fighting Scots were the 10 percent. 

Despite forcing six Carson-Newman (1-0) fumbles, and recovering four of them, Edinboro (0-1) lost to the Eagles 38-24 last Thursday night at Roy Harmon Field at Burke Tarr Stadium on the campus of Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee. 

“I learned a lot about my team tonight,” Browning admitted. “I thought our football team really grew up tonight and really grew together as well.” 

Edinboro matured early on in the game in front of an announced crowd of 3,844. The Fighting Scots struck first as sixth-year senior quarterback Cody Harris found sophomore Nick Helmick in the back of the end zone with a five-yard pass capping off their five play drive with a touchdown. An extra point by freshman Paul Ortiz, who converted all three of his extra point attempts on the night, put Boro ahead 7-0 with 8:07 left in the first quarter. 

Carson-Newman had a quick response, however. The Eagles, who have made the postseason in 14 of the last 21 seasons, took only four plays to knot it up as De’Andre Thomas (11-18, 155 yards, 2 TDs) found TraShaun Ward for a 29-yard strike to make it 7-7 midway through the first quarter. 

A 15-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Darren Massey made it 14-7 in favor of Edinboro midway through the first quarter. 

With Edinboro right in the thick of things for most of the game, Browning was pleased with his team.

“I think our guys played real hard tonight,” he said. “I think we had a very good showing.” 

After Carson-Newman tied it up, it wasn’t until late in the second quarter and until scoring resumed that the Scots recovered a Carson-Newman fumble, but failed to capitalized as they could not get a first down and punted the ball right back to the Eagles. 

The Eagles didn’t let that opportunity slip away as they put together their best drive of the game, going 82 yards in 17 plays that took up 7:18 of game time, which resulted in a touchdown as Thomas dove into the end zone on a quarterback sneak from one yard out. With that score, Carson-Newman took the lead 21-14, and never looked back. 

After running a successful offensive series with under two minutes remaining in the first half, Ortiz booted a 33-yard field goal, his first career attempt, to make it 21-17 in favor of Carson-Newman heading into halftime. 

Despite the Eagles being nationally ranked, the Scots held with them for the first two quarters of play. 

“We were ready,” said Harris about the game. “We had a good game plan. Our coaches did a good job preparing us in the right way. I think we had them at certain times, but we just made some mental mistakes.” 

Unfortunately, Edinboro didn’t take advantage of the times Carson-Newman made mistakes as the Fighting Scots recovered four total fumbles, but only scored 14 points off of those turnovers. 

The second half was not as full of opportunities for Edinboro. After Carson-Newman fumbled their first possession of the half away, they scored two possessions later on a 69 yard run by Anthony Ball (6 rushes, 84 yards, 1 TD) up the middle which put the Eagles ahead 28-17. 

Another solid 11-play, 63- yard drive by Carson-Newman eliminated any hope of a Boro comeback as the Eagles punched it in from the one yard line to make it 35-17. 

With 8:09 left in the contest, Edinboro found the end zone one last time as Harris connected with Helmick (5 rec., 54 yards, 2 TDs) on a 17-yard pass to bring the score to 38-24. 

A victory was what they wanted, but Browning saw positives in the loss. 

“We came down here to win obviously, but I wanted to see us progress as a football team and see some positives. I wanted to see us play hard, play smart and be physical. I saw a lot of good things.” 

The Fighting Scots are in action this Saturday as they kick off their PSAC schedule by visiting Shippensburg (1-0) who defeated Seton Hill, 55-30, last week. That game is scheduled for a 12 p.m. kickoff.

Tyler Trumbauer is the sports editor for The Spectator. He can be reached sports.spectator@gmail.com