By Josh Brown
CASSTOWN — Regardless of whatever math was necessary to get them into the playoffs, Miami East had plenty of motivation already in Friday’s regular season finale against Twin Valley South.
Win and claim a share of the Cross County Conference championship.
That was all the motivation the Vikings needed, too, as Miami East closed out the regular season with its third straight impressive victory over a quality opponent by routing Twin Valley South 41-6 Friday night at home, clinching only the team’s fourth-ever league title.
Miami East finished the regular season 8-2, 7-1 in the CCC. Its loss was a double-overtime game to Covington, which defeated Ansonia 42-6 in a separate Week 10 matchup to clinch its own share of the title with a 7-1 CCC record. Twin Valley South finished the season 6-4, 5-3 in the CCC — but handed the Buccaneers their lone CCC loss.
“The boys rose to the occasion after that loss to Covington,” Miami East coach Max Current said. “They put things together like they were on a mission and got the job done when they had to.
“That’s our fourth league title in school history. That’s a lot of good football players, a lot of good teams, and these kids have now got something that a lot of other good players don’t have. They should be proud of what they accomplished.”
The Vikings took control early with a 76-yard touchdown drive on the game’s opening possession. Quarterback Braxton Donaldson was 3 for 3 on the drive for 65 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to Arron Adams. On first-and-10, Donaldson rolled out after faking a handoff and dumped to Adams, who took it the rest of the way to put the Vikings up less than four minutes into the game.
The Panthers tried to answer, driving to the Viking 27 before being stuffed on fourth-and-2 by the Miami East defense. The Vikings then took the ball 74 yards on 17 plays, chewing up the rest of the first quarter and most of the second and converting four third downs along the way until Adams carried the ball into the end zone on third-and-goal from the 6 to give East a 14-0 lead.
That’s where things remained at halftime, though. Twin Valley South was forced to punt on its other two possessions of the half as the Viking defense held tough, while Miami East fumbled away one chance and ran out of time at midfield at the break. Despite the two-score lead, the Vikings dominated the half, piling up 217 total yards of offense to the Panthers’ 80. Donaldson was 4 for 5 passing for 71 yards and Kurt Brower had 95 rushing yards on 12 carries by halftime.
“I was concerned about their (Twin Valley South’s) passing game, but defensively, we covered it well,” Current said. “The defense played well tonight.”
And in the second half, that domination continued as the Vikings put the game away for good in the third.
After the defense turned in another stop on the second half’s first possession, Kurt Brower punched in a touchdown from 12 yards out to make it 21-0 East with 6:50 left in the third. Brower added a 30-yard score with 2:50 left in the quarter to make it 27-0. And right before the end of the quarter, Donaldson scored on a 1-yard run with 35 seconds on the clock to make it 34-0 and begin the running clock, as per the OHSAA mercy rule.
“We came out in the second half, got a stop and just took care of business,” Current said. “Our last couple drives of the third quarter, we were blocking really well up front and the backs were running really hard. The kids wanted to finish the job.”
Twin Valley South finally got on the board with 10:56 to play as Jacob Bassler hit Jordan Peterson with a 10-yard touchdown pass. But Miami East answered with another lengthy drive, capped off by a Donaldson 1-yard plunge that made it 41-6 with 7:58 to play — and the Vikings celebrated their league championship victory.
Three of the Vikings’ running backs hit the 100-yard mark on the night. Brower led the way with 177 yards on 19 carries, Logan May had 138 yards on 18 carries and Adams finished with 100 yards on seven carries. Donaldson finished 4 for 6 for 71 yards passing.
The win was also the senior class’ 34th victory — tying the Miami East High School record.
With the win, the Vikings clinched a playoff berth. Their opponent was yet to be decided as of Friday night and will be officially announced on Sunday. Miami East will play on the road at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 in the first round of the Division VI, Region 22 playoffs.
“We accomplished our goal. Our No. 1 goal is always to win the league title,” Current said. “Now we’ll take what’s given to us in Week 11, prepare and do what we can. Everyone feels good right now after tonight. Now we’ve just got to get after it Monday and see what we can do next week.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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