Southeastern rolls past Catholic Central

Southeastern High School senior Duke McCombs (right) celebrates with senior Nick Harris after catching a touchdown pass during their game on Friday night at Trojan Stadium in South Charleston. The Trojans won 34-0. Michael Cooper/CONTRIBUTED

A familiar sound rang through the village of South Charleston on Friday night — the Trojan football program’s victory bell.

Southeastern High School junior quarterback Wade Eriksen threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Trojans beat Clark County rival Catholic Central 34-0 in an Ohio Heritage Conference South Division game on Friday night at Trojan Stadium.

Senior Nick Harris rushed for 131 yards and a TD on 17 carries, while Tanner Stoops added 52 yards on 10 carries and a TD. Duke McCombs had two TD receptions as Southeastern gave A.J. Woods his first coaching victory at his alma mater.

“It was a big win,” Woods said. “We were at a teetering point in our season. We needed that one for sure. It felt great.”

Southeastern quickly established its run game with Harris and Stoops, rushing for 251 yards in the game. The Trojans took a 6-0 lead on a 34-yard TD run by Harris with 2:17 remaining in the first quarter.

“We talked to the boys before the game and said it’s about technique and footwork,” Woods said. “If they take the proper techniques and footwork, it’s going to be there. It was great to see.”

With 6:09 remaining, Eriksen found McCombs for a 26-yard TD pass to make it 14-0.

The Irish recovered a muffed punt in Southeastern territory late in the second quarter, but were unable to capitalize on the turnover.

At halftime, Woods stressed the importance of the first two minutes of the third quarter. After stopping the Irish, Southeastern junior Mason Coil returned a punt 64 yards to the Irish 16-yard line.

“A lot of games are decided in the first two minutes of the second half,” Woods said. “(Coil) set the tone right there with a punt return. It was really big for us.”

A few plays later, Eriksen scored on a 13-yard TD run to give the Trojans a 21-0 lead with 9:01 remaining in the third quarter. With a three touchdown lead, the Trojans were able to put pressure on the Irish in the second half.

“When you establish the run game, you can do a little bit more on defense,” Woods said. “It helps out with that five-wide spread offense. (Catholic Central) has some electric football players.”

Eriksen found McCombs on an 8-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter and Stoops scored on a 13-yard TD run on the next possession to make it 34-0.

Southeastern hosts Madison Plains in Week 4. The Eagles beat the Trojans 22-13 last season.

“(Coach Jason Hunt) has a great program,” Woods said. “They’re always sound with what they do. It’s going to be tough.”

The Irish fell to 0-3 and 0-2 in the OHC South. Catholic Central, which has no seniors and three juniors, is still learning what it takes to compete on Friday nights, said first-year coach Ty Myers.

“We’re not doing what we go through during the week,” he said. “We obviously have film. We tell them what’s to come, but once the lights come on, everybody kind of goes their own way. … We’ve been in every game, but there’s always one play that kind of breaks our back and then I see the heads go down. When you’re young, it’s hard to get you back in the game and understand how long the game is and that you’ll have other opportunities.”

The Irish will look to improve in Week 4. They host Greeneview (2-1, 2-0 OHC South) next Friday night at Hallinean Field.

“We expected some of this, but being competitors, we want to win,” Myers said. “We knew we were going to have some of this dealing with youth and low numbers. We’ve got to keep their spirits up. Next week is a new week.”

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