LAKEWOOD — Eaton’s offense really didn’t need to be on the football field Saturday afternoon at Trailblazer Stadium.
The Fightin’ Reds, ranked No. 9 in the CHSAANow.com Class 2A football poll, scored three defensive touchdowns and forced two other turnovers that allowed Eaton to start eventual touchdown drives inside D’Evelyn 20-yard line.
“This win is really big,” said Eaton sophomore Gage Butler after a 34-0 victory over No. 10 D’Evelyn. “To come out here and show our skills. It was a great win.”
Eaton senior Henry Fritzler got the Reds going defensively recovering a fumble by D’Evelyn senior quarterback Evan Willis at midfield. The defensive lineman rumbled 50 yards into the end zone to give Eaton (2-0 record) an early 7-0 lead.
Butler came up big in the final minutes of the first half with a pair of touchdowns. He intercepted a pass from Willis and returned it 80 yards for the second defensive touchdown for the Reds with 1:12 left before halftime.
“I just saw the ball and played the ball,” Butler said of the interception and impressive return where he weaved his way into the end zone. “I was pretty tired on the way down there. The stiff arm won it.”
Another fumble by Willis in the final minute was recovered by Eaton senior Judson Church with 38 seconds left in the second quarter. Three plays later Butler scored from 2 yards out to push the lead to 20-0 with 8.9 seconds left before halftime.
“He (Bulter) is just an athlete and a competitor,” Eaton coach Zac Lemon said of his sophomore running back/defensive back. “I love it that is age doesn’t get to him. He doesn’t care about experience. He is taking advantage of his opportunity.”
A strange stat for the first half was Eaton ran just 13 offensive plays from scrimmage totaling 37 yards. D’Evelyn had 36 offensive plays from scrimmage for 141 yards, but the three Jaguar turnovers was the reason why D’Evelyn (1-1) trailed 20-0 at the break.
“You tell your kids to take care of the ball and if you don’t turn it over you’ll win the game,” D’Evelyn coach Jeremy Bennett said. “Early I though our offense was clicking. We kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Eaton sealed the victory scoring on back-to-back plays early in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Scott Grable connected with Church for a 19-yard touchdown coming off an interception by senior Alex Maravilla that set up the Reds in the redzone.
On the Jaguars’ next offensive play D’Evelyn senior running back Enzo Franzese took a hard hit and fumbled. Senior Ty Garnhart picked up the loose ball and ran it in from 13 yards out for the third defensive touchdown. The score put Eaton up 34-0 with 8:48 left in the fourth quarter.
“We were so excited about the way we played,” Lemon said. “We know we are really young and inexperience in our secondary, but they executed to perfection today. They excepted the challenge and step up today.”
The next challenge for Eaton will be No. 3 Platte Valley. The Reds host the Broncos (3-0) at 6 p.m. next Saturday, Sept. 15.
D’Evelyn returns to Trailblazer Stadium to host The Academy (2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14. It will be the Jaguars’ homecoming game.
“We’ll regroup. You’ve got to look at the mistakes and correct those,” Bennett said. “We’ve got to clean it up and fix it.”