PEMBERVILLE — The Patrick Henry offensive line steamrolled Eastwood on Friday night, amassing nearly 500 yards on the ground.
The Patriots picked up yards in big chunks and flattened the Eagles 40-28 in a season-opener on the road. Patrick Henry linemen Keith Palmer, Jake Carrizales, Jon Norden, Joe Montana, and Colt Pettit completely controlled the line of scrimmage.
The Patriots racked up 598 yards of offense (490 on the ground).
“In the second half, our offensive line took control and our blocking was very, very good,” PH coach Bill Inselmann said.
The beneficiaries were junior running back Tobey Hernandez and senior quarterback Gabe Jones.
Hernandez repeatedly gashed the Eagles’ defense in the second half. He finished with 253 yards on 23 carries and three touchdowns. Hernandez had 217 yards rushing the second half.
“On the sidelines [our linemen] were telling the coaches to ‘give it to him, give it to him,’?” Hernandez said. “We just kept running and running and we got those big plays.”
Jones rushed for 185 yards and threw for 110 yards. He scored on runs of 76, 1, and 32 yards.
Two of Eastwood’s scores came on kickoff returns. Patrick Henry held Eastwood to 293 yards of total offense, including 84 through the air.
The Patriots were in total control but led just 14-0 at the half. Eastwood senior Isaiah Conkle instantly made it a one-TD game when he returned the second half kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown.
PH countered with a seven play, 81-yard drive capped by a 1-yard TD rush by Jones to go up 21-7 with 8:29 left in the third quarter.
“The key to the game was when they took that kickoff back and our offense went right down the field and went boom, boom, boom,” Inselmann said.
Jones then scored on a 32-yard QB keeper to give Patrick Henry a 27-7 lead late in the third.
“It’s disappointing,” Eastwood coach Jerry Rutherford said. “But give credit to Patrick Henry and their offensive line. They are pretty good. They have an excellent defense.”
Hernandez set up his second score, another one-yard run, with a 40-yard scamper to make it 34-7.
“We saw their body language and we saw that they gave up,” he said.
Eastwood sophomore Devin Snowden took the next kickoff back 80 yards for a TD. But Hernandez then once again did the work to set up his third score before cashing in with a four-yard rush to give PH a 40-14 edge.
Eastwood makes it 40-21 on 47-yard pass from Jake Schmeltz to Brennan Seifert with 4:49 to go. Brent Schlumbohm then scored on an 82-yard run to make it 40-28 with 1:13 left.
In the first half, PH out gained Eastwood 254 yards (183 rushing) to 90 (59 rushing).
On the second play of the game, Jones went 76 yards for a touchdown. Jones faked a hand off and then hid the ball behind his back. After hesitating, Jones took off around the left end and sprinted down the sideline.
Other than the second-half kickoff return, PH contained Conkle, who rushed for 1,190 yards last season. Conkle came out of the game with cramps in the third quarter and finished with 20 yards.
Eastwood is coming off a 11-1 season in which the Eagles won a playoff game.
The Eagles knocked off the Patriots 37-34 in the opener last year.
“We wanted this one so bad, especially playing here,” Hernandez said.
Inselmann said his team’s conditioning on a warm night paid dividends. He also said he expects more big things from Hernandez.
“Our defense was very good. I was very pleased with our secondary tonight,” Inselmann said. “We will build on this.”
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354, or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.