Mistakes pile up in Greenville football team’s loss to Eaton


GREENVILLE – Greenville flashed big play ability Friday night but couldn’t overcome its mistakes as the Green Wave lost their season opener 24-19 to Eaton.

“My initial feelings about this is we lost the game tonight because of the mental mistakes that we had throughout the game,” Greenville football coach Aaron Shaffer said.

Unofficially Greenville outgained Eaton on the night with 302 offensive yards for the Green Wave and 273 for the Eagles. The Wave’s offensive output included a 67-yard touchdown run by Jarrad Crist plus touchdown passes of 36 and 30 yards from Owen Paulus to Marcus Wood.

“We’re athletic. We’re not huge by any means, but those guys can go a little bit,” Shaffer said. “I think there is some big play ability in there.”

While Greenville showed the ability to strike quickly, so did Eaton. One of the biggest plays of the game came early in the second quarter when Eaton blocked a Greenville punt – the first of two blocked punts on the night – and returned it for a touchdown.

“Too many mistakes,” Shaffer said. “You can’t get punts blocked. You can’t get penalties at bad times. All that stuff you’ve got to fix. If you’re going to win football games you can’t shoot yourself in the foot, and we did multiple times tonight.”

The night started off well for Greenville as the Wave marched into Eaton territory on their opening drive. However, the drive stalled at the Eagles’ 33-yard line and the Wave turned the ball over on downs.

Eaton also moved the ball well on its first drive and scored on a 22-yard pass from Ryan Venable to Zac Schmidt to go up 7-0.

Greenville’s offense continued to move the ball on its second possession, but this time finished off the drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Paulus to Wood to knot the score at 7-7 with 3:06 remaining in the quarter.

“Owen threw the ball well,” Shaffer said. “He’s got a lot of good targets out there. He’s got some athletes.”

The score remained tied until early in the second quarter when Eaton blocked a Greenville punt and Seth Hodapp returned it approximately 25 yards for a score, putting the Eagles back on top, 14-7.

Late in the quarter Greenville cut the deficit to 14-13 as Crist took a handoff 67 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was unsuccessful, though, keeping Eaton’s lead intact.

“I thought we ran the ball well, too,” Shaffer said. “Jarrad Crist ran well.”

Eaton ended up going into halftime up 17-13 as Anna Black drilled a 28-yard field goal as time expired.

Eaton added to its final during the first possession of the second half. The Eagles drove 65 yards with Caleb Puckett scoring on a 22-yard run to put the visitors up 24-13.

Greenville quickly responded on its next possession with Paulus connecting with Wood for a 30-yard score to reduce the deficit to 24-19 with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter.

However, that’s as close as Greenville was able to get. The Wave were driving late in the fourth quarter, but an interception sealed the victory for Eaton.

“These young guys need to get field time,” Shaffer said. “They’ve got to get out and experience it. The good part is they played hard. They play hard and they gave themselves a chance tonight to win a football game. But when you’re trying to overcome two blocked punts, a dropped PAT snap and penalties it’s going to make it difficult.”

Greenville had 302 yards on the night with a balanced attack – 155 through the air and 147 on the ground.

Crist led the run game with 133 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.

Paulus was 9-for-22 passing for 155 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Wood caught four passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Crist, Noah Vanhorn and Jacob Goldsmith also caught passes.

“I thought Owen played well,” Shaffer said. “He found Marcus a couple times. He found Goldsmith a few times. Vanhorn made a couple nice catches tonight. Our passing game took a step forward.”

Eaton had 273 total yards with 143 rushing yards and 130 passing yards.

Puckett led the Eagle offense with 35 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown.

Venable was 16-of-19 passing for 130 yards and a touchdown. Schmidt caught five passes for 45 yards and a touchdown while Aaron Tolliver caught four passes for 51 yards.

Greenville fell to 0-1 on the season with Friday’s loss while Eaton improved to 1-0.

“It’s tough to be on this end of it, but that was a hard-fought, close football game,” Shaffer said.

Greenville will return to action on Sept. 1 as it plays host to Wilmington, who is coming off a 52-31 loss at Valley View.

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Greenville’s Jarrad Crist runs for a 67-yard touchdown during the Green Wave’s season opening football game against Eaton on Friday in Greenville.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/web1_Jarrad-Crist-WEB.jpgGreenville’s Jarrad Crist runs for a 67-yard touchdown during the Green Wave’s season opening football game against Eaton on Friday in Greenville. Kyle Shaner | The Daily Advocate

By Kyle Shaner

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Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.

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