Eastern quarterback Tanner Evans' accurate passing and the Eagles' stout defense built a 23-0 lead early in the second half, and that proved too much for Bryan Station to overcome in the iHigh Football Frenzy at Lafayette Saturday night.
Eastern held off a Defenders comeback and won 30-21, leaving Eagles Coach Ken Whalen with mixed feelings.
"You're always happy to win, but I was really disappointed in the way we finished," he said. "We told our guys (Bryan Station) wouldn't quit, and they didn't."
Bryan Station first-year coach Craig Yeast, on the other hand, liked the way his team battled to the final horn.
"It's about trying to change the culture and mentality," he said. "I was proud of the way we fought and gave ourselves a chance at the end. That's what we were looking for."
Evans, operating out of the shotgun, was a lethal weapon for Eastern. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns.
Jimmy Brannon had six catches for 74 yards, including TDs of 28 and 14 yards. Brannon and Alex Elliott combined for 112 yards rushing.
Eastern botched a couple of scoring chances in the opening minutes, but got on track with Evans' first TD pass to Brannon on the first play of the second quarter.
The Eagles added 10 points in the last minute of the half on Evans' 1-yard run and Michael Bryer's 27-yard field goal. That three points came after Bryan Station fumbled a kickoff.
Brannon's second TD catch made it 23-0 early in the third quarter.
Bryan Station got a spark when Charles Randle picked off a pass and returned it 30 yards to the Eagles' 31.
After Ora Johnson hit Jaysuma Webb with a 28-yard pass, Everett Talbert bulled in for the TD to make it 23-7.
Bryan Station's defense then got a stop, and the Defenders' offense quickly drove to the Eastern 10.
But things fell apart after that.
Matthew Davis sacked Johnson for a 14-yard loss. Two incomplete passes and a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct later, Bryan Station punted from the 39.
The Eagles took over and drove for a TD.
After Eastern pushed its lead to 30-7, Bryan Station got a pair of long-distance scores — a 96-yard kickoff return by LeDarius Jackson, and a 60-yard pass play from Tyus Alcorn to Kenyon Hippe.
Hippe's score came with 46 seconds left — too little too late.
Johnson threw for 177 yards for Bryan Station, and Alcorn added 75 through the air. The Defenders had a minus four yards on the ground.
Talbert led the defense with nine tackles.
Eastern 0 17 6 7—30
Bryan Station 0 0 7 14—21
E —Jimmy Brannon 28 pass from Tanner Evans (Michael Bryer kick). E—Evans 1 run (Bryer kick). E—Bryer 27 field goal. E—Brannon 14 pass from Evans (kick blocked). BS—Everett Talbert 3 run (Michael Morton kick). E—Alex Elliot 3 run (Asa McNealy kick). BS—LeDarius Jackson 96 kickoff return (Ora Johnson run). BS—Kenyon Hippe 60 pass from Tyus Alcorn (pass failed).