BUTLER – Eastside nearly came back from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit in the school's first Class 2A semistate game Friday, but the rally fell just short and the Blazers' historic playoff run came to an end with a 17-14 loss to Andrean.
“Defensively, we'd done enough to win the game. We just didn't do enough offensively,” Eastside coach Todd Mason said. “They got us a little uncomfortable in the first half, and what can you say? I have a great group of kids that my heart is broken for. You can't take anything away from what they've done.”
The Blazers (13-1) entered the fourth quarter trailing 17-0, but in the opening seconds of the final period a hard hit by Eastside junior linebacker Dackotia Reed jarred the ball loose, and junior defensive back Carsen Jacobs caught the fumbled ball in the air and raced 31 yards to the end zone.
Andrean (11-3) turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, and when Eastside got the ball back the Blazers put together their most impressive drive of the game. An 8-yard pass from quarterback Laban Davis to senior tight end Kyler Bibbee capped off the possession and made the score 17-14 with 5:13 left to play.
The 59ers looked like they were once again in trouble when running back Drayk Bowen picked up just one yard on 3rd-and-7 with just under two minutes to play. But a completion from sophomore quarterback Scott Ballentine to his older brother Robby was good for a first down and sealed the victory.
The Ballentine brothers also connected for the first 59ers touchdown, a 55-yard pass that came at 3:16 in the second quarter.
The 59ers threatened to score once again in the final minute of the half, but an interception at the goal line by Eastside senior defensive back Johnny Eck kept the score at 10-0 heading into halftime.
The 59ers did add to their lead at 8:06 in the third quarter, when Scott Ballentine juked a defender and ran five yards for a touchdown that put Andrean up 17-0.