The green had turned to brown, the grass unearthed and the dirt was all that remained. That is, except for the center of the field where the Eastern View logo rests. The white and blue “EV” as pristine as when the game had began. The same rings true for the Cyclone team that left the field Friday night with mud and grime covered on their jerseys, despite the conditions, they triumphed for a 40-3 opening round 4B playoff victory over Midlothian.
“We told the team before the game, ‘Newsflash, it is going to be wet,’ and we pride ourselves on being able to play anywhere with any type of conditions,” Eastern View coach Greg Hatfield said. “We can’t control the elements or anything like that, we can only control how much effort we give.”
Hatfield’s team gave their full effort against the Trojans. Quarterback Matt Lowry ended the night with five touchdowns, all on the ground, and Tre Holmes tacked one on for good measure as the story of the night was the running game of the Cyclones.
On the night, Eastern View had 476 yards on the ground compared to just 18 yards through the air. Lowry ended the night with 219 rushing yards, to go along with his five touchdowns, including two runs that went for over 50 yards each. Holmes may have only reached the end zone once, but he recorded 210 rushing yards of his own with one run of over 50 yards. Hatfield accredited the effectiveness of the running to his offensive line and their physicality.
“The O-line played great tonight,” Hatfield said. “They were really physical and I think tonight was the most physical game we have played all season.”
While the offense increased their streak of games with 40-plus points to nine, the defense increased their streak of holding opponents to under 10 points to five. Outside of an early 68-yard completion from Midlothian quarterback Christian Chambers to Rafael Beltran, the Trojans were stifled all night. Multiple sacks or runs for no gain forced Midlothian to punt the ball six times on the night.
The scoring got started for Eastern View after the defense forced at Midlothian punt. The Cyclones proceeded to march down the field behind Holmes and Lowry, until they were close enough for Lowry to run into the end zone from the 1-yard line. A high snap forced an extra point that went wide, giving Eastern View the early 6-0 lead.
The Trojans showed fight, responding by getting down the field before settling for a 24-yard field goal. Those three points would be Midlothian’s only points on the night.
The Cyclones found themselves in the Trojan red zone again before the end of the first quarter, and Lowry punched it in from 4 yards out to bring the score to 13-3.
From there, it became the Matt Lowry special. Two runs of 75 and 54 found the end zone to inflate the score to 27-3 at the half.
An onside kick by Midlothian to begin the second half was successful, but the offense was unable to take advantage of the extra possession to begin the half. They were forced to punt it away to Lowry and Co. Lowry would find the end zone again a few plays later with a 39-yard run.
Another strong defensive stand by the Cyclone defense would give the ball back to the offense before the end of the third quarter. Holmes would find some space down the sideline, and take it to the house for his lone touchdown on the night and the final score of the game.
Eastern View’s night was made that much sweeter when 17 players were named to the Battlefield All-District team and three players were on the honorable mention list. The honors were highlighted by Lowry being named the offensive player of the year, Zach Brown being named the defensive player of the year and Hatfield being named the coach of the year. Hatfield said the awards spoke to the caliber of players at Eastern View and the blue collar mentality of his team.
The Cyclones will head to Louisa on Friday to take on the No. 1 seed in the 4B region. The battle of the two undefeated teams in the 4B region is going to be a battle, a battle that Hatfield is confident about.
“We’re a good football team,” he said. “We have got to play great [on Friday].”