Amanda-Clearcreek didn’t waste many opportunities Friday night at Circleville.
The Aces scored on five of their six full possessions in the first half on the way to a 54-8 win.
“This is one of those games where you need to come out and play up to your level and not play down to your opponent,” AC coach Steve Daulton said. “I do think Circleville is doing a good job of sticking to their strengths in a program rebuild. They’re trying to keep it simple, coach their kids up and keep it positive, so I do give them credit for that.
“At the same time, we’ve got to come out and play our game. I’m really proud of the kids for being locked in after a big game last week (against Bloom-Carroll) and coming out and having a good week of practice with fair week and those distractions and not paying attention to the records of teams, but rather how can we get better.”
Jayse Miller got the Aces (6-1, 3-0) off on the right foot as he returned the opening kickoff 51 yards to set his team up at the Circleville (1-6, 1-2) 29-yard line.
Five plays later, Peyton Madison went in from a yard out and Brandon Binkley’s kick put AC up 7-0.
Holding Circleville to a three-and-out, Miller made another big return as he ran the punt back to the end zone, but a penalty brought the ball back to the AC 37. The Aces picked up a first down, but a sack by Circleville’s Isac Payne of Madison for a 15-yard loss led to AC’s only punt of the night.
AC gave up a first down to the Tigers, before forcing another punt. Madison kept the ball on first down and raced 64 yards for a score.
After another Circleville punt, Madison connected with Lane Stevens for 29 yards on first down and then ran 48 yards for a 21-0 AC lead.
The Tigers lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff giving the ball back to the Aces at the CHS 23. Madison connected with Miller for 20 yards on the first play and then hit Jeff Bolin for the other three and a touchdown. Binkley’s fourth PAT kick of the night put the Aces up 28-0.
After another punt from the Tigers, AC mounted an eight-play drive (six of them passes) that covered 67 yards and ended with Miller bringing in a Madison pass from seven yards out. The PAT kick was low leaving the Aces up 34-0, which is where the score stood at halftime.
Circleville fumbled the ball three times during different drives in the first half. Even though they recovered them, they each led to lost yardage.
“It stymied a couple drives there in the first half and it shoots us in the foot and puts us behind,” Circleville coach Luke Katris said. “We all know Amanda is talented and they stuck it to us with our mistakes. That’s what good teams do. When you’re down, they get you and that’s what they did. They’re well coached and they take advantage of those mistakes.”
The Tigers moved a couple players around to start the second half, including putting freshman Scott Moats under center. He made that move pay off on the opening possession of the second half.
Facing fourth-and-11 at their own 34, Circleville went for it and Moats scrambled, making a few tacklers miss, as he raced 66 yards for the Tigers’ lone touchdown of the night. Angelo Travis ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 34-8.
“We went with Scott at quarterback and he’s pretty explosive,” Katris said. “He’s a freshman and he’s a kid that when he grows up, he’s going to be a special player for us.”
The Aces didn’t let the Tigers get any momentum from that drive. Miller returned the kickoff 25 yards to set AC up at their own 34. Madison ran for nine yards and then Jesse Connell picked up 26. Madison then hit Miller for 24 yards and Connell ran it in the last three for an AC score.
After holding Circleville on downs, AC had a short field and made the most of it. Keyed by a 19-yard pass from Nate Hunter to Grant Guiler and a 16-yard run by Guiler, Hunter Matheny scored from two yards out to put the Aces up 48-8 as the third quarter was coming to a close.
With another short field to work with after the Tigers were stopped on fourth down, AC put together one last scoring drive keyed by a 23-yard run from Bobby Pieratt and capped with a three-yard scoring run by Nolan Brumfield.
The Aces ended the night with 216 yards rushing and had only one incomplete pass as they were 14-15 for another 177 yards.
“We found ways to get better,” Daulton said. “There are still things we need to get better at.
“Our pass protection gave up a couple sacks. There was some miscommunication. You can get away with things sometimes in practice, then you get under the lights and things get exposed. It gives us something to address tomorrow for these games coming up.”
Madison was the Aces leading rusher with 98 yards on seven carries. He was 13-14 passing for 158 yards as well.
Miller was AC’s leading receiver with 71 yards on four catches.
Moats ended the night as Circleville’s top rusher with 81 yards on three carries while Payne had 31 yards on nine carries and Travis had 22 yards on nine carries.
Circleville ran for 162 yards Friday.
The Aces return home next week for the last home game on the schedule against Hamilton Township (3-4, 2-2). They know that if they are going to have a chance at earning a home game in the postseason, beating the Rangers is an important step.
“It’s a special place and these kids don’t take it for granted,” Daulton said of playing in The Pit. “The environment our home fans create there, especially in the month of October, it’s really special.
“You’ve got to win your home games if you want to make any noise anywhere. This being our fifth one, there’s no reason to slow down or take anything easy because we’ve got a big-time opponent coming in. We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
The Tigers are home again next week for what will be their last home game as well. They’ll be hosting Teays Valley (5-2, 3-0).
If the Tigers are going to find success against the Vikings, Katris knows they need to clean up the miscues.
“It’s making sure we get our effort right and we fix some of those mistakes. When we stop shooting ourselves in the foot, I think the kids found out last week we’re not a bad football team,” he said. “That’s what we’ve got to do — but if we’re going to continue to do that, we’re going to have some issues on the scoreboard.”
Amanda-Clearcreek 54, Circleville 8
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Amanda-Clearcreek 14 20 13 7 54
Circleville 0 0 8 0 8
AC — Madison 1 run (Binkley kick), 9:22.
AC — Madison 64 run (Binkley kick), 1:49.
AC — Madison 48 run (Binkley kick), 8:57.
AC — Bolin 3 pass from Madison (Binkley kick), 8:35.
AC — Miller 7 pass from Madison (kick failed), 3:32.
CV — Moats 66 run (Travis run), 7:28.
AC — Connell 3 run (Binkley kick), 6:15.
AC — Matheny 2 run (kick failed), 0:36.
AC — Brumfield 3 run (Binkley kick), 4:33.
First downs 16 8
Rushing yards 21-216 40-162
Passing yards 177 0
Comp.-Att.-Int 14-15-0 0-5-1
Total yards 393 162
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 5-1
Penalties-Yards 3-20 2-15
Punts-Ave. 1-33 5-40
RUSHING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Connell 5-42, Miller 1-18, Madison 7-98, Hunter 1-5, Guiler 1-16, Matheny 1-2, Lott 2-28, Brumfield 1-3, Smith 2-4. Circleville — Travis 9-22, Michael 6-11 Kidwell 3-17, Moats 3-81, Graham 5-3, Donaldson 3-(-4), Payne 9-31, Thatcher 2-1.
PASSING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Madison 13-14-0-158, Hunter 1-1-0-19. Circleville — Donaldson 0-1-0-0, Moats 0-4-1-0.
RECEIVING – Amanda-Clearcreek — Connell 1-14, Miller 4-71, Guiler 1-19, Bolin 3-0, Banker 3-32, Stevens 2-41.
Peyton Perini was crowned Circleville’s homecoming queen during halftime ceremonies Friday night. A senior, Perini is the daughter of Nick and Rachel Perini. Max Lattimer, son of Mark and Phoebe Lattimer was crowned homecoming king. Members of the homecoming court include (from left): sophomore attendant Marissa Miller, daughter of Mike Miller and Sandy Draper; senior attendant Helena Haslett, daughter of Dean and Julie Haslett; senior attendant Sidney Gray, daughter of Travis and Laura Gray; Lattimer; Perini; junior attendant Bailey Kasler, daughter of Misty Collins and Bo Kasler; and freshman attendant Erika Kluczynski, daughter of Lori and Joe Kluczynski.