COLUMBUS — A Thursday night deluge of rain made Eastmoor Academy’s Griffin Field nearly unplayable.
When the mud settled, Granville survived with a hard-fought 11-8 win that could serve the Blue Aces well as the season wears on.
“We were determined from the beginning of the game that we would not let the conditions beat us,” Granville coach J.R. Wait said. “If we got beat by the other team, that would be one thing. We didn’t know it would be this bad. The water it took (Thursday) made the field go downhill fast.
“We saw it in pregame, and it was what it was. It just deteriorated fast.”
Granville (2-0) won the game despite netting minus-21 yards rushing on 23 attempts. Eastmoor (1-1) wasn’t much better with 13 rushing yards on 34 attempts. This was truly a battle of attrition as neither team netted 100 yards total offense.
“We felt like we had a good defensive plan coming in, but you have to tackle,” Wait said. “They have dangerous kids when they catch the ball and break tackles. Our guys for 48 minutes did all the little things well.”
The Blue Aces struck first blood as an errant Eastmoor shotgun snap careened into the end zone. Granville’s Mathieu Holt tackled Eastmoor quarterback Keeshawn Ramsey for a safety just 2:38 into the game.
“We were trying to keep our gaps, fire through and keep our eyes up,” Holt said. “We got killed last week (against Sheridan) by missing tackles.”
Granville had several opportunities in Eastmoor territory but could not convert. Late in the first half, Granville took over after a punt on the Eastmoor 35-yard line. Quarterback Kyle Zies, who ended up 12-of-30 for 110 yards, hit Michael Reed on a slant for a 20-yard gain.
Two plays later, Zies threw to Thaddeus Winston in the left flat. He eluded an Eastmoor defender and got into the end zone to give Granville an 8-0 lead with 1:06 left in the first half.
“I have faith in my guys,” Zies said. “Coach (Eric) Steele, our offensive coordinator, likes the comeback route. Thaddeus did a great job making a guy miss and scored.”
Granville’s Bob Compton intercepted an Eastmoor pass on the final play of the first half.
“That is the muddiest game I have ever played in,” Compton said. “You had to move around with flat feet. You couldn’t run on the balls of your feet or you’d sink in.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Granville got a huge break. Zies was intercepted by Eastmoor’s Daylin Jackson, but he fumbled it back to the Blue Aces on the return. Zies hit Jack Peterson for an 18-yard gain down to the 2. Granville settled for Drew Maxwell’s 20-yard field goal and an 11-0 lead with 8:43 left in the game.
Eastmoor, aided by a pair of Granville pass interference penalties, finally put it in the end zone on Ramsey’s 10-yard lob to Terry Johnson, cutting Granville’s lead to 11-8 with 3:36 left.
Eastmoor kicked it deep and forced a Granville punt. But the Warriors lost the ball on downs with 53 seconds left after a pair of Ramsey passes fell incomplete.
“This means we can win wherever we go if we do what we’re supposed to do,” Holt said.