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Published: Saturday, 9/30/2006

Otsego blanks Eastwood

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

PEMBERVILLE - The Otsego offense turned two do-or-die situations into back-breaking scores and the Knight's defense pitched a flawless shutout over an explosive Eastwood team last night.

Otsego turned two fourth-

and-long situations into third-

quarter touchdowns as the Knights took an early but critical edge in the race for the Suburban Lakes League title with a 21-0 blanking of the Eagles. The Knights held an Eastwood offense, which had been averaging 305 yards per game, to just 103 total yards.

Gifted tailback Cody Donald scored all three Otsego touchdowns and finished with 161 rushing yards. Donald scored on a 32-yard run and a 31-yard pass from Kenny Rodgers.

"This is just indescribable.

Everyone lives to make big plays at big times," Donald said. "Getting the shutout makes it that much better. Our defense played with a lot of heart. We heard about all these weapons they had and we came here and shut them down."

Otsego (5-1 overall, 3-0 SLL) forced three second-half turnovers and tallied 315 total yards, including 228 on the ground.

"I couldn't ask for anything more from our defense. They couldn't play better than they did tonight," said Otsego coach Dale Bernard. "This is always a huge game. This rivalry has

really been developing. The place was packed. I didn't see any empty seats. This is a huge boost for our program. This puts us up there in the chase for the league title."

After a scoreless first half that was filled with penalties, Donald finally broke through with a big run on a key fourth-down situation midway through the third quarter. Donald was stopped at the line but broke free and scampered 32 yards for the game's first points with 4:06 left in the third quarter.

Just two plays later Otsego linebacker Alex Glassford recovered a Josh Fairbanks fumble at the Eastwood 45.

Again the Knights converted on fourth down as Rodgers hooked up with Donald on a 31-yard pass play. The play came after an Otsego timeout with the Knights facing a fourth-and-

seven situation with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.

"The down and distance didn't really matter," Bernard said. "Our theme was to play one play at a time."

"It's great to come to Eastwood and shut them out," Henck said. "Our senior class has never won here. Our defense played so well.''

The Knights came up with another fourth-down conversion to set up Donald's one-

yard dive for the final margin with 1:09 left.

Donald said the Eagles had outscored his team 99-26 in his high school career.

"When we scored first we knew we had the game," Donald said.

Fairbanks led Eastwood with 70 yards, but had only three

carries in the second half. East-

wood ran only 16 plays in the final two quarters.

"Our line really stepped up in the second half," Bernard said.

Eastwood (3-3, 2-1) has won or shared the SLL titles for four straight seasons. But the Eagles' biggest highlight was Mike Oberdick's first-half interception.

Donald also caught two passes for 40 yards. Rogers, a junior first-year QB, threw for 87 yards.

Contact Mark Monroe at:

mmonroe@theblade.com

or 419-724-6110.



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