Powered by the legs of a converted tight end, Circleville ran its way to a 20-14 win over Logan Elm to claim the Kingston National Bank Trophy in the Second Annual Backyard Brawl.
In the process, the Tigers snapped a 15-game losing streak.
Isac Payne ran for 211 yards, with 146 coming in the first half, as the Tigers (1-5, 1-1) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and held off Logan Elm’s (1-5, 0-3) attempt at a fourth-quarter comeback.
“He started out the year playing backside tight end,” Circleville coach Luke Katris said. “I didn’t know what I was going to get from him.”
Payne made the move to the running back spot after an injury to Cade Burton earlier this season.
“He ran like a warrior tonight,” Katris said.
Payne picked up 64 yards on Circleville’s first possession, a drive that culminated with Colin Michael scoring from a yard out and Payne running in a two-point conversion.
After Jesse Fuller intercepted a Logan Elm pass to give the Tigers a short field, Payne ran the ball on four of Circleville’s five plays to pick up 26 yards and score from a yard out.
“We just came out with a lot of energy and it showed,” Payne said. “They (offensive line) did an amazing job blocking for me.”
Logan Elm drove the ball as deep as the Circleville 5 on its next possession, but a third down sack by Lucky Donaldson put the Braves back at the 17 and a fourth-down pass was incomplete.
“We had opportunities to do things in the first half to do things offensively. With the offense they run, your opportunities are limited so you have to take advantage of the opportunities you have,” LE coach Terry Holbert said. “We turned it over early, we got stopped on a deep drive early and didn’t take advantage of the few opportunities we had in the first half.”
Circleville held a 14-0 lead as Logan Elm opened the second half with the ball.
The Braves mounted an 11-play drive that covered 55 yards and ended with Conner Robinson taking it in from four yards out to close the gap to 14-7.
Circleville’s next possession was a quick three-and-out with a short punt giving LE the ball at the Circleville 28. But the Braves were stopped inches short of the line to gain on a fourth-down play and turned the ball over to the Tigers.
Circleville then put together a 16-play drive that ate more than 10 minutes off the clock as the Tigers marched 82 yards down the field with Michael going in for the final yard.
Undaunted, Logan Elm drove its next possession down the field only to fumble the ball away at right before crossing the goal line.
Circleville took a gamble on fourth down as the Tigers lined up to punt from their own endzone but ran a fake. When the chains were brought out to measure, the ball was less than an inch from the line to gain and LE got the ball back.
This time, Robinson wasted no time and found Chase Hoffman for an 11-yard touchdown with 2:52 left in the game.
Payne recovered LE’s onside kickoff attempt for Circleville and picked up two crucial first downs, the second coming on fourth-and-1, to seal the win for the Tigers.
“I told the kids before the game is the way we win this game is to dominate the line of scrimmage. They’ve got a great player over there (Evan Valentine), and I said if can manage it and go three yards and a cloud of dust in this game, I think we can do it,” Katris said. “I’m so proud of them – these seniors I’m so glad to get them one, they’re wonderful people.”
Behind the 211 yards from Payne, Circleville ended the night with 290 yards of offense, all on the ground.
“There weren’t any surprises. They did what we had prepared for, they were just physical at the point of attack and we weren’t very aggressive and didn’t tackle well enough. So they pretty much ran the ball at will,” Holbert said. “We came out in the second half and moved the ball and scored. We had a great opportunity with a stop to tie the game and just didn’t take advantage.”
The Braves finished the night with 215 yards of offense, with 109 on the ground and 106 through the air. Hoffman led the Braves on the ground with 71 yards and Donte Dryden had 74 receiving yards.
The Tigers claim the KNB Backyard Brawl Trophy after last year’s inaugural game went to the Braves when they stopped the Tigers from scoring in the closing seconds.
“It just adds another element. We both have the town of Circleville in front of our name, so it means a lot to these kids and it’s something we’ll talk about for the next year,” Katris said. “It’s what a good rivalry is about.”
Logan Elm will look to get back on track when it travels to Fairfield Union (0-6, 0-3) next week, while Circleville will play host to Amanda-Clearcreek (5-1, 2-0).
Circleville 20, Logan Elm 14
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Circleville 14 0 0 6 20
Logan Elm 0 0 7 7 14
CV — Michael 1 run (Payne run), 8:49.
CV — Payne 1 run (run failed), 4:13
LE — Robinson 4 run (Ewing kick), 8:39.
CV — Michael 1 run (run failed), 7:31.
LE — Dryden 11 pass from Robinson (Ewing kick), 2:52.
First downs 17 13
Rushing yards 56-290 33-119
Passing yards 0 106
Comp.-Att.-Int 0-1-0 10-16-1
Total yards 290 215
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 4-30 3-41
Punts-Ave. 2-20 1-35
RUSHING – Circleville — Payne 32-211, Michael 12-38, Thatcher 6-21, Donaldson 4-13, Moats 2-7. Logan Elm — Robinson 14-54, Hoffman 14-71, Dryden 2-5, Dyer 2-(-5), Team 1-(-6).
PASSING – Circleville — Moats 0-1-0-0. Logan Elm — Robinson 10-16-1-106
RECEIVING – Logan Elm — Dryden 6-74, Dyer 1-18, Hoffman 2-6, Smith 1-8.