BUTLER — Just enough.
Eastside’s football team survived two turnovers and a rash of penalties to maintain its grip on the Train Trophy, defeating Garrett 28-8 at Butler Friday.
“We executed when we had to. Now, the thing is we’ve got to execute for 48 minutes,” said Eastside coach Todd Mason.
“We’ve got to quit putting the football on the ground and we’ve got to quit making crazy penalties at crucial times.
“We overcame a lot, so I’ve got to give the offensive team credit for that,” Mason said. “At the same time, we won’t have to be overcoming all of these things if we do things right the first time.”
The Blazers (3-2) piled up nearly 400 yards of total offense and did enough to limit Garrett’s triple-option running attack to 180 yards and 232 yards of total offense.
Eastside receiver Lane Burns caught touchdown passes of 19, 65 and 54 yards.
Garrett running back Seth VanWagner carried 15 times for 103 yards to lead his team’s offense.
Eastside wasted little time getting on the board, taking the opening kickoff 81 yards in 10 plays.
The trio of quarterback Laban Davis and running backs Matt Firestine and Dax Holman gained most of it. Davis connected with Burns for the final 19 and the first of their three scores. Jaiden Baker’s extra point kick had Eastside in front with 7 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first.
Garrett (2-3) got big yardage from Clayton Fielden on one play to get the ball near midfield, but Eastside stopped the visitors on downs and started the other direction.
Firestine ran three times while Holman, Davis and Wade Miller ran once each. Davis added a 13-yard completion to Dylan Bredemeyer, but Garrett’s Cole Bergman stopped the scoring threat with a sack at his team’s 17-yard line.
On the next play, Eastside’s signals got crossed, leaving Davis no one to hand the ball off to. He threw it away, but with no receiver in the area, the Blazers were for intentional grounding, ending the threat early in the second.
The Railroaders kept the ball on the ground for 11 plays and reached the Eastside 20, but Hayden Gardner stopped VanWagner behind the line of scrimmage on a fourth-down run.
Garrett got the ball right back when Kraig Smith recovered an Eastside fumble near midfield.
On first down, the Blazers stuffed VanWagner again, and the Railroaders had to punt, giving the ball to the hosts at their 24.
Davis completed a pass to Bredemeyer for 11 yards, and in the hurry-up offense, he found Burns wide open over the middle. Burns did the rest, turning that into a 65-yard TD play. Baker’s kick made it 14-0 Eastside with 1:11 left in the half.
Garrett threatened late in the half. Levi Follett completed four passes to three different receivers, but Eastside’s Dawson Smyth picked off a pass on the final play of the half.
The Railroaders went three-and-out on their first possession of the third, but got the ball back when Eastside fumbled the ball at the Garrett 5.
VanWagner bulled his way for eight yards, but two plays later, Follett, under heavy pressure, was picked off by Eastside’s Johnny Eck at the 45.
The Blazers made that turnover hurt. On the third play, Davis and Burns hooked up once more, this time on a screen pass. A good downfield block turned a big play into a touchdown. Baker’s kick made it 21-0 Blazers with 3:41 left in the third.
Garrett went three-and-out once more, and Eastside added one more score before the quarter ended. This time, Bredemeyer caught a 32-yard TD pass from Davis. The extra point made it 28-0 with 1:05 left in the quarter.
The Railroaders ended Eastside’s shutout bid when VanWagner broke free for a 27-yard touchdown run with 6:21 to play. Jonathan Badger made the conversion run to end the scoring.
The win makes four straight victories for the Blazers over Garrett. The Railroaders hold a 28-17 lead in the all-time series.
Both teams return to divisional play Friday.
Eastside travels to Prairie Heights in an NECC Small Divison game. Garrett hosts West Noble in an NECC Big Division contest.