Building off the momentum of a four-game winning streak to close last season, a senior-laden Eastmoor Academy football team was determined to go much further this fall after missing the playoffs a year ago.
The Warriors put together a 12-game winning streak, including upsetting top-seeded Hartley 19-14 in a Division III, Region 11 semifinal Nov. 9 and beating sixth-seeded Thornville Sheridan 20-14 as the No. 4 seed in the regional final Nov. 16 to make it to state for the second time in program history.
Eastmoor’s season ended with a 40-7 loss to Chagrin Falls Kenston in a state semifinal Nov. 23 at New Philadelphia as it finished 12-2 overall.
“The way we prevailed through the adversity and all of the nagging injuries is just by sticking together,” senior Miicah Coleman said. “I feel like this year’s team is the closest it’s ever been to a family. Every game really feels like me and my brothers are actual warriors going into battle and no matter what happens we have each other’s back.”
Eastmoor endured injuries to several key players during the playoffs.
Coleman (LB/RB/DB) and classmates Tyree Grace-Sawyer (LB/RB) and Kylan Birchmore (LB/RB) were among the players that were unable to play against Kenston.
Senior running back Savon Edwards, the Division III district Player of the Year, also was banged up throughout the postseason.
Kenston (13-1), which advanced to play Kettering Alter in the state final at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, amassed more than 400 yards of offense against Eastmoor.
Other seniors for the Warriors included Travis Clodfelter (DL/TE), Roshawn Harper (DB/WR), Napoleon Harris (DB/WR), Elijah Jennings (OL/DL), Marquise Laster (QB), Sabien Lathem-Aekins (OL) and Josh Warren (OL/DL).
One of the few playmakers eligible to return is junior Cameron Long, who saw action at running back and in the secondary and was one of the team’s top kickoff and punt returners.
Eastmoor won the City League-South Division title, going 7-0 to finish ahead of Division II playoff-qualifier Walnut Ridge (6-1), Marion-Franklin (5-2), Independence (4-3), South (3-4), Briggs (2-5), West (1-6) and Africentric (0-7).