HARROD — Another shutout. Another impressive playoff win.
After downing Lucasville Valley 45-0 last week, Allen East continued its impressive showing in the postseason with a 49-0 win over Paint Valley in the Division VI second round Friday night.
With the victory, Allen East improves to 11-1 and will face the winner of Madison Tri-Village, a 49-7 winner against Cincinnati Country Day, at a site to be determined at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Paint Valley ends its season with a 8-4 record.
In its first two postseason contests, Allen East has outscored its opponents 94-0.
Allen East shook off two turnovers on its first two drives to come back and outscore the Bearcats 28-0 in the first half.
Mustang head coach Joel Billings said this team can’t make those early mistakes as the team advances in the playoffs but was happy to see his team come up big on both sides of the ball after the slow start.
“We don’t want to make those mistakes moving forward bu t we did bounce back and that is the important thing,” Billings said. “They are a big physical team and we shut that down.”
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Mustang Jack Hoel, who finished with 156 yards on 11 carries and two touchdown, provided the offensive spark as he ripped off runs of 45 and 65 yards on his first two carries to set up the Mustangs first two touchdowns.
“That were some of his more explosive runs and really the offensive line did its job,” Billings said.
Allen East quarterback Jacob Hershberger continued to work his magic throughout the game as he went 13 of 20 for 180 yards and three touchdowns. The Mustang signal caller also ran for 75 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown and his run for the score went for 38 yards and put the running clock in effect as he scored at the onset of the third quarter.
“He (Hershberger) makes big plays and that is what he does,” Billings said. “This year he is better at improvising and he doesn’t force the ball and he did a good job of that and extending plays on third and fourth down.”
Mustang receiver Caleb Hopkins had four catches of 55 yards and two touchdowns and Joe Hoel had five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. .
”We have a great line up front and you have to give them credit for making the holes,” Hershberger said. “We have Jack Hoel as the tank and he is really hard to bring down.
“We have been playing for a while and we have a great group of seniors, 13 guys, We fight. We have nothing to lose. It is win or go home and we just gave it everything we had. We came together, picked each other up and came out with the win.”
Not too be overlooked was the strong defensive effort put in by the Mustangs who shutdown Paint Valley’s offense as they neutralized the Bearcats’ running game and shutdown their passing attack.
Constantly putting pressure on the Bearcats, the Mustangs made three interceptions with two from Trey Hensley and one from Hershberger.
“They (the defense) is not the biggest group but they are physical and they play fast and they are disciplined so it is fun to watch,” said Billings, who pointed that they also contained their passing game and limited the number of Paint Valley big plays.
Hershberger said, “We really pride ourselves on stopping the run. We have to work on our pass defense a little bit but it feels good to get two shutouts like that.”
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.