ST. CLAIR TWP. — Senior running backs Wade Phillips and Elijah Williams combined for five touchdowns Friday night as Edgewood High School’s football team closed the regular season with a 33-7 rout of visiting Mount Healthy.
It was victory No. 300 in the history of the program and helped the Cougars secure their third straight Southwest Ohio Conference title. They will share the crown with Harrison after the Wildcats fought off Northwest 19-14 on Friday.
“We just told the boys that going back to Dec. 4 of last year is when this season started. We talked tonight about finishing what we started,” Edgewood coach Scott Clemmons said. “They responded to that tonight. They did a great job on defense tonight, and offensively, we just keep grinding.”
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» Nick Graham’s photo gallery from Edgewood-Mt. Healthy
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The Ohio High School Athletic Association will announce the playoff pairings Sunday. According to www.joeeitel.com, the Cougars will be hosting Little Miami (8-2) next Friday — Edgewood beat the Panthers 20-0 in Week 9.
The Cougars wasted no time finding the end zone in the first quarter against Mount Healthy as Phillips finished a 10-play, 69-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
The start of the second period was similar to the first. Edgewood’s ground game soaked up the first six minutes of the quarter, totaling 11 consecutive runs and a 3-yard touchdown by Williams. It was 21-0 at halftime after another Phillips TD, this time from 15 yards out.
“We just trusted the line,” Phillips said. “It all starts with them up front creating the holes for us to run through. We just believed that if we came in and played our style of football, we would be good. We just need to keep working and getting to that next level that we talk about.”
The Cougars dominated time of possession in the first half with just over 19 minutes. Mount Healthy had only eight offensive plays in the first half and got outgained 213-37 in yardage.
The Owls’ first two possessions of the second half resulted in a failed fake punt and their second fumble of the game (Justin Hiltbrand recovered both for the hosts). Williams followed the fake punt with a 25-yard touchdown to make it 27-0.
Williams scored again on a 52-yard burst in the fourth stanza to make it a 33-point affair. Mount Healthy’s Jamal Kelly answered with a 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
"We just didn't get many chances to have the football in the first half,” Owls coach Arvie Crouch said. “They had more opportunities and capitalized on them. When you give a team like Edgewood the ball that often, they are going to make them pay off. I'm proud of my team the way we have played in the latter part of the season."
Williams finished with 21 carries for 169 yards for Edgewood. Phillips gained 89 yards on 13 runs.
“We just kept running them down and making them tired tonight,” Williams said. “Once we did that, we knew they couldn’t stop us. We just need to keep doing our jobs moving forward, and this means keeping our composure and remaining confident.”
The Cougars improved to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the SWOC, while Mount Healthy dropped to 5-5, 3-3. The Owls still clinched a Division III, Region 12 playoff spot and will be on the road against a yet-to-be-determined opponent next Friday.
Mount Healthy 0-0-0-7—7
E: Wade Phillips 7 run (Dustin Turner kick)
E: Elijah Williams 3 run (Turner kick)
E: Phillips 15 run (Turner kick)
E: Williams 25 run (Kick blocked)
E: Williams 52 run (Kick failed)
M: Jamal Kelly 79 kickoff return (Isaiah Sosa kick)
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