By Garth Shanklin
Coming off an 18-0 shutout loss to Mount Healthy in their season opener, the Amelia Barons traveled to Owensville looking for their first win of the season. Thanks to several big plays on both sides of the ball, the Barons picked up that first victory 41-6 over Clermont Northeastern.
Amelia got on the board early, jumping ahead on a touchdown run by Trey Brausch with just under eight minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Rockets coughed the ball up right before the end of the quarter, setting the Barons up with good field position to begin the second period.
However, CNE’s Matthew Jenkins stepped in front of a Cage Meyer pass, and the Rockets took over.
After a CNE punt, Eli Altherr scored on a 39-yard run on fourth and two. The Barons led 14-0 with 7:02 left in the half.
The Rockets turned the ball over on downs in Amelia territory on their next drive, but that didn’t keep the Barons out of the end zone. Cage Meyer hit Boykin with a 35-yard touchdown reception, putting Amelia ahead 20-0 with 2:14 left in the half after the extra point was missed.
Luke Newton gave CNE their only score of the game in the third quarter scoring on a six-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 20-6. The Rockets’ two-point conversion attempt failed.
Amelia responded, as Cage Meyer hit Luke Meyer for a 22-yard touchdown.
The Barons added two more scores, both by Altherr. He would add a 43-yard touchdown run and a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown off a tipped pass to give the Barons their winning margin.
Head coach Dave Brausch said he felt that the team had improved from week one, but they still weren’t quite where they needed to be.
“I think we looked a little better,” Brausch said. “We still have a long way to go. We played better on both sides of the ball up front, but we have to get better coming off the ball and doing our job from there.”
Amelia finished the game with 139 passing yards and a pair of scores through the air. Brausch said throwing the ball was a necessity given the way CNE’s defense lined up.
“They were putting everyone in the box and daring us to throw, so we had to throw the ball,” Brausch said. “Sometimes you hit some, sometimes you don’t. We were lucky to hit a few.”
He credited the Rockets’ defensive scheme, which kept the Barons off the field in the second half.
“We only ran seven plays the whole second half on offense,” Brausch said. “They were successful in what they wanted to do in some ways. We need to work on that.”
Altherr finished the game with just eight carries for 125 yards and a pair of scores. Brausch credited his running ability to his work in the weight room during the offseason.
“He just runs so hard,” Brausch said. “He’s a hard, downhill runner and he’s got a strong lower body which makes him tough to bring down. He’s one of about four or five kids who lived in the weight room this summer. A lot of kids did a lot, but there were four or five that were there every day.”
Defensively, Amelia swarmed CNE’s ballcarriers throughout the game, which Brausch said helps make up for a perceived lack of size on the defensive side of the ball.
“We preach and practice gang tackling every day,” Brausch said. “We’re undersized on defense, and we need to make up for that in our effort. It’s hard to get them for negative yards since they run straight forward so often, we did a good job.”
Brausch said the team didn’t dwell on the week one result against Mount Healthy, noting the game was in the past. That same philosophy carried over to week two, even if the result was different.
“It’s over, you can’t pout too long and you can’t celebrate too long,” Brausch said. “Week one was behind us, and we felt like we had some chances we didn’t hit. I don’t know if we hit those early if things would’ve been different or not.”
In week one last season, Amelia lost to Glen Este 63-20 in the final matchup between the two teams. Brausch said there was a noticeable difference in the team’s performance from week one last year to week one in 2016.
“We were a lot better in week one this year than last year,” Brausch said. “We played the same type of competition, but this year we stayed in the game. We tried to pick positives out of it.”
The team will look to ride the positive momentum through a tough road contest on Sept. 9 at Williamsburg. The Wildcats enter the contest at 1-1 on the season, but they’ve scored a total of 76 points in two games. Brausch said containing Williamsburg will be a challenge.
“They’ve changed their offense,” Brausch said. “They’re in a spread. The quarterback is very quick and shifty, and the running back is pretty quick too. He runs hard. Their offense is capable of putting a lot of points on the board, that presents a big challenge for our defense.”
The match between the two teams is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.