CINCINNATI - Friday night at Marx Stadium was the perfect example of what makes high school football so special. On an evening when another loss loomed over the field, the Walnut Hills Eagles made the most of their last game at home, and defeated the heavily-favored Loveland Tigers 20-17.
Loveland (5-3, 2-2) got on the scoreboard first in the opening quarter after a 31-yard field goal, but they were not expecting the entire Eagles' team to play their best football of the year in the second quarter.
With 11:48 to go in the half, Walnut Hills (4-4, 1-3) was able to score their first touchdown in the last three games when Tierin Williams ran outside to the left, and 24 yards for the score. Five minutes later, Kevin Blount was able to connect to his go-to wide out Kendal Fitzgerald on a 12-yard pass to the right corner of the endzone.
Defensively the Eagles shut down Loveland, and were able to pick up a couple of turnovers before heading into the locker room for halftime (fumble recovery and interception by Mark Hermann).
In the third quarter Walnut Hills kept the Tigers scoreless, and added seven points of their own off of a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Blount. For the first time this year, the Eagles were dominating collectively in all aspects of the game. At least until the fourth quarter.
With half of the final period gone, Loveland began a 14-point rally and was within three from putting the game in a deadlocked score. Ultimately, the Eagles forced a turnover on downs to run the clock out to preserve the win.
As the time ran out, the fans ran on the field to celebrate the victory for the last home football game of the year.
Overall, the Eagles were aggressive on offense, much more than they have been all year. Walnut came out with a nice mix of running and passing plays that caught the Tigers off guard. At one point, Walnut even tried a hook-and -adder route.
The upset win on Senior Night now shakes up the standings a little bit in the ECC, and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out in the dying weeks of the season.
Walnut Hills travels to Milford next Friday, and Loveland will host the frontrunners in the conference, Turpin.
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