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Eastern Pike wins first football state playoff game in school history

Head coach Scott Tomlinson’s Eastern Pike Eagles continued a historic run Friday with the first state football playoff victory in school history, according to the school district’s Facebook page.

The Eagles defeated Shadyside 41-27 in the first round of the Division VII playoffs to remain undefeated at 11-0 for the season. They host Waterford at 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 3) in the second round of the playoffs.

Prior to Friday’s game, Tomlinson said he knew the Eagles’ defense would have to keep Shadyside’s quarterback in check.

“Skill position-wise, I think it’s a wash,” he said going into the game. “We are much bigger, much more physical in the trenches. Their QB can really run around the pocket, and that has given us fits in the past, so we have to control him and keep him in the pocket. If we can do that, I trust our offense to execute enough to be able to bring us home the win.”

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This is the second consecutive year Tomlinson has led the team to the playoffs and only the ninth year the football program has existed.

“The most memorable (aspect) would be coming back from behind a couple of scores, multiple times,” he said of the Eagles’ undefeated regular season. “It really tested the resiliency this group had and made me even more confident in our ability to potentially be able to make a stretch run in the postseason.”

When discussing the most memorable game from the 10-game regular season, Tomlinson emphasized the significance of the win over Notre Dame, which gave the Eagles their first outright SOC I title.

“We were down two scores to Notre Dame, and we just kept battling, the kids didn’t quit, and I knew in that moment I had a special team,” Tomlinson stated.

Every team has high aspirations going into the season, but whether or not they can accomplish those aspirations is another story in itself. Tomlinson knew going into the year that this group had a chance to make history, and he wanted to capitalize on that.

“We had a great ending to the last season, and we carried that momentum into summer ball and then into the season,” he said. “In all reality, we expected to be 10-0, or 8-2 at the worst, depending on injuries. We wanted to win the conference outright. That was our goal going into the season, and we knew we had a good chance of doing that.”

Tomlinson and his squad met their goals, and there is no doubt about that.

In order to have a successful football team, there are multiple moving parts. Tomlinson emphasized what he believes helped him and his team get to the top this year.

“It’s more about the coaching staff this year than the kids,” he said. “It’s our ninth varsity season, and this is the first time I have had a full staff since having the program. In the past, I have struggled finding staff members, and we had the ability to have a full staff this year, so each kid gets the full attention and preparation they need, and it really helps propel us in our planning and our preparation.”

Especially in a smaller area, and with limited resources, it is important to be able to get the most out of your school, your players and your staff.

“We only have 21 kids on the roster, so everybody is essentially playing both sides of the ball, so I’m proud of the kids for the hard work to remain focused to be able to perform on both sides of the ball,” Tomlinson said.

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Jackson Williams, Staff Writer
Jackson Williams is a 21-year-old transfer student studying sports management with a concentration in communications. Williams started his college career at Kentucky Christian University, where he signed to play basketball. However, after sustaining a labrum tear in his hip, he made the difficult decision to step away from basketball and KCU. He chose Shawnee State because he knew that the university offered a smooth transition for transfer students. Currently, Williams is the head coach for the New Boston Junior High School basketball team. He does not have a set career plan. However, he knows that he wants to continue to work in sports, whether through coaching, broadcasting or the business side. While working with the Chronicle, Williams hopes to be able to show respect for the local area and properly represent the community.

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