Eaton tops Waynesville in matchup of unbeatens

Eaton sophomore Devon Rader returned an interception for a touchdown in the Eagles' 35-7 win over Waynesville on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Eric Frantz/CONTRIBUTED
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Eaton sophomore Devon Rader returned an interception for a touchdown in the Eagles' 35-7 win over Waynesville on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Eric Frantz/CONTRIBUTED

WAYNESVILLE – When Theo Winings, Aiden Williams, Christian Reyna, Josh Martin and the rest of Eaton’s football senior class were freshmen, the Eagles finished 1-9 with a Week 10 victory over Dixie. Friday that foursome and their teammates moved to 5-0 with a decisive 35-7 win over host Waynesville in a Southwestern Buckeye League crossover game featuring two undefeated teams at Spartan Community Field.

Eaton, which finished 5-5 last year and hasn’t had a winning record since 2013, debuted at No. 6 in this week’s Division IV AP state poll.

Waynesville drops to 4-1.

The victory, coupled with last week’s 21-20 win over Bellbrook, gives Eaton back-to-back victories over the SWBL’s two defending divisional league champions.

“This group has seen it all,” Eaton head coach Brad Davis said. “They’re ready for it. They’re not shying away from the spotlight. It’s a different group.”

Athleticism defines the core.

Winings, Williams, Martin and Reyna are part of a talented skill group that also includes sophomores Leslie Orr, Devon Rader, Chris Atkins and Brayden Deem. That unit impacts both sides of the ball and did so immediately Friday.

Facing a fourth-and-13 from Waynesville’s 25-yard line on the game’s first drive, junior quarterback Brock Ebright and Martin connected for a touchdown. On Waynesville’s second play from scrimmage, Rader returned an interception 12yards for a touchdown. After a three-and-out by the Spartans, Ebright and Martin had a 43-yard touchdown called back due to a crack-back block. On the next snap Ebright hit Orr for a 45-yard touchdown.

It was 21-0 less than nine minutes in.

“It was a long bus ride and that was the focus -- get off to a fast start,” Davis said. “Just get off the bus and play. The first quarter couldn’t have gone any better.”

Ebright added touchdown tosses of 22 and 8 yards to Winings in the second and third quarter.

“It makes my job a whole lot easier having guys I can rely on,” Ebright said. “Sometimes I get put into bad situations and these guys bail me out along with the O-Line. Being a quarterback is hard. Having these guys have my back is awesome.”

Down 35-0, Waynesville scored on a 36-yard fourth-quarter pass from junior Blaise Sizer to senior Jake Duncan. The Spartans’ four wins were against teams that were a combined 1-15. Waynesville was averaging 32 points per game.

Eaton’s last league title came in 2011. That capped a run of three straight (2009-2011). Week 7 and 9 trips to Brookville and Valley View, respectively, are circled.

“It’s been a great process,” Winings said. “This group of seniors we have has made a massive impact.”

Said Martin: “It’s been long. It’s been hard. But that’s why we put the work in.”

The Eagles returned two all-league players – Martin and senior tight end/defensive end Breyden Boston.

“We’ve picked it up since freshman year and we get after each other because we strive for greatness,” Williams said. “5-0 doesn’t mean anything. Yeah, it’s a good record, but we’re not done. We’re 0-0 heading into next week.”

“We’ve been waiting for a senior class to come through and say enough is enough…let’s get back to the way the program should be playing football,” Davis said. “These guys have answered that challenge.”

Eaton entertains Madison for homecoming next week, while Waynesville hosts Bellbrook.