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River Pilots Dismantle Eastern in the Ohio Playoffs

By Rick Loy - Staff Writer | Oct 28, 2020

Carter Dennis

The Pilots hosted the Reedsville Eastern Eagles on October 23, at Martin Flannery Field in Hannibal in the third round of the Division VII, Region 27 Ohio Playoffs. Coach Mike Flannery had the perfect game plan for the Eagles, and River rode the arm of Brody Lollathin, the legs of Carter Dennis, Michael Johnson, and a stiff defense to blast the Eastern Eagles 49-13 to advance to the fourth round of the Ohio Playoffs.

The host received the opening kickoff and returned it to their own 35-yard line to start the first series. The Pilots spread the field with four receivers wide and drove down to the Eagles five-yard line. Lollathin completed passes to Jake Rose and Thompson before having a pass intercepted that set the visitors up on their own eleven-yard line.

River’s defense was smothering all night long keeping the Eastern 250-pound fullback Fitzgerald in check. The Pilots held the Eagles to three and out to force a punt. Reedsvilles’ punt only carried 15-yards to set the Pilots up at the Eagles 25.

On first down, Pilots Quarterback Lollathin hit Rose with a reception to the Eastern nine-yard line to set up a first down and goal. On the next play Lollathin threw another interception but a roughing the passer penalty kept the drive alive at the five-yard line after marking off the penalty. All-Ohio back/linebacker Carter Dennis went for four on first tote and plunged over from the one with 6:20 in first quarter to put River up 6-0. Zac Hocutt split the uprights for the point after to make it 7-0 for the home team and the rout was on.

Eastern started the next drive from their own 19-yard line. The Eagles running back Combs took the handoff from QB Yonkers and rambled 26 yards to the 45-yard line where the drive stalled out and Smith punted for the visitors again.

Johnson returned the punt to the Pilots own 34-yard line to set up the host’s next drive. Lollathin completed passes to Thompson and Rose. Dennis had a 12-yard run to the Eastern 29. Lollathin then hit Johnson on a nice 29-yard T.D. pass at 2:17 in first stanza to make the score 13-0. Hocutt was true again and made it 14-0.

River’s Chase Lawrence would stop the Eagles next drive with a spectacular inception to set his team up at the Eagles 36-yard line. After a four-yard gain by Lollathin, he dropped back and hit Johnson for a 32-yard TD pass. Hocutt added the PAT to make the score 21-0 with 11:52 to go in second quarter.

.Lollathin hooked up with Johnson again for a 26-yard TD pass and Hocutt added the point after to go up 28-0 with 1:46 left in first half, and Chase Lawrence picked off his second pass of the game and took it 60-yards for a pick six with just two seconds on the clock before the break. Hocutt added the PAT to make it 35-0 at the half.

The third quarter started out with the River defense still dominate as they held Eastern to only five yards and a punt on their initial series of the second half.

It then took the Pilots only two plays to score again with Carter Dennis rambling for a 37-yard tote and then Lollathin hit Dennis with a short pass he took in from 22-yards out with 6:55 in the third quarter. Hocutt again split the uprights to make the score 42-0.

Eastern finally dented the scoreboard with 10:08 in the fourth quarter with Fitzgerald going in from one yard out to make the score 42-6. The point after was blocked by the Pilots.

The Eagles would add another TD with 6:46 to go in game when QB Yonkers hit Thorla with a nice 54-yard pass and kick after was good to make it 42-13.

On the ensuing kickoff, River answered quickly when senior speedster Michael Johnson returned it 85-yards for the final score of the night with 6:32 left to play. Hocutt added his seventh extra point of the night to make the final 49-13. Johnson had a big night with four touchdowns and amassed 235 total yards.

“He’s going to give me heart attacks and he’s going to make me a happy camper, but at the end of the game I’m usually a happy camper,” River Coach Mike Flannery said of Johnson. “When he gets the ball in open space something good is going to happen.” “People

“People who key on Carter Dennis can’t do that when Michael plays like he did. Carter didn’t carry the ball much tonight, but when he did he did it well. He also caught that screen pass and really made some moves on his way to the end zone.”

Sophomore Quarterback Brody Lollathin had a big night throwing for four TD’s and was 15-24 for 261 yards.

With the win and a Shadyside 14-0 victory over East Knox sets up a rematch with the Pilots and Tigers in the fourth round of Playoffs. The game will be played in Hannibal.

River improved their record to 7-2 on the season. Eastern dropped to 6-3.

Ohio Division VII, Region 27 Quarterfinals

River 49 Eastern 13

Eastern 0 0 0 13 – 13

River 14 14 7 0 – 49

R – Dennis 1 run (Hocutt kick)

R – Johnson 29 pass from Lollathin (Hocutt kick)

R – Johnson 32 pass from Lollathin (Hocutt kick)

R – Johnson 26 pass from Lollathin (Hocutt kick)

R – Lawrence 60 INT return (Hocutt Kick)

R – Dennis 22 pass from Lollathin (Hocutt kick)

E – Fitzgerald 1 run (kick blocked)

E -Thorla 54 pass from Yonker (Hawk kick)

R – -Johnson 85 kickoff return (Hocutt kick)

Rushing: Eastern 46-235-1td (Combs 15-111, Fitzgerald 23-109 1td, Ridenour 2-11, Smith 3-3, Yonker 3-1). River 18-109-td (Dennis 9-75-td, Lollathin 4-17, Johnson 2-15. Creamer 3-2).

Passing: Eastern 1-8-54-td-2ints (all by Yonker). River 16-25-273-4-int (Lollathin 15-24-261-4tds-int, Isaly 1-1-12).

Receiving: Eastern 1-54-td (all by Thorla). River 16-25-273-4tds (Rose 6-68, Johnson 5-135-3tds, Thompson 3-16, Dennis 1-22-td, Lawrence 1-12)

First Downs: Eastern 12 River 17

Penalties: Eastern 4-30 River 3-15

Fumbles: Eastern 0-0 River 2-1