A chapter of East Marion football came to a close Friday night. The Eagles (9-3) struggled to match Scott Central’s physicality in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs and were eliminated in a 34-6 loss.
The defeat marked the end of an illustrious prep career for four-year starting quarterback Devin Daniels, who has been a one-man show for the Eagles the past two seasons since Syracuse running back Jarveon Howard graduated. Even in the loss Daniels accounted for 174 yards of total offense, while the Eagles had just 154 as a team. They had three ball carriers combine for minus-20 yards on six attempts.
Scott Central (10-2), who is the defending state champion, came out firing on all cylinders on its opening drive with a good mix of run and pass before Jalen Wells capped off the possession with a 13-yard touchdown. Following an East Marion three-and-out, the Rebels ran the ball with ease down the field, and Jabrelynn Vivians punched it in from a yard out to make it 14-0 late in the first quarter.
After another Eagles three-and-out, which included a nearly completed deep ball to Amere Woodham, Elijah Robinson scored the first of two touchdowns for the Rebels on a 1-yard carry. The Rebels marched down to the East Marion 5 on their next drive, but Ladarrius Watts knifed into the backfield on a blitz and forced a fumble that was recovered by Carlos Stubbs to keep it 21-0 going into the second half.
The Eagles had their first long drive of the game to open the third quarter thanks to 47 yards on the ground by Daniels, but a loss of 11 on a sweep by Jadarrius Mallard killed the drive. The Rebels took advantage and converted a 4th-and-21 on a deep fade to get into the red zone before Robinson scored again.
The Rebels scored once more early in the fourth quarter, and it wasn’t until East Marion’s final drive that the Eagles got on the board. Daniels had five carries for 69 yards on the drive, including a 10-yard touchdown to keep the Eagles from being shut out.
The Eagles will graduate seven seniors, including Daniels, Christian Patton, Jalen Martin, Andrew Price, Jaheim Burkett, Dailand Peters and Elijah Brown.
While their season came to an early close, the Eagles actually had one more win this season than they did last year when they reached the south state championship in Class 1A. Their only losses were to Columbia, West Marion and Scott Central, who have 34 wins combined.
Head coach Kevin Jackson could not be reached for comment.
Pictured Above: East Marion's Devin Daniels runs away from the Scott Central defense. | Photo by Susan Amundson