The Eminence Warriors are playing their best football of the season, head coach Steve Frommeyer said, and they proved it Friday night with another big win to improve to 7-1 on the season. This time, it was Bishop Brossart who left Warrior Field disappointed after Eminence jumped out to a huge early lead and cruised in for a 54-0 victory.
Coming on the heels of the Warriors’ 58-16 win over Evangel Christian the weekend before, it was another week to rest their top guns and get their younger guys plenty of playing time. Eminence started subbing in its second-team players during the first quarter and continued running in and out players for the rest of the game.
“I was surprised. I didn’t know we would get that opportunity again,” Frommeyer said of the lopsided contest that allowed his would-be junior varsity team a chance to shine. “It’s hard for us to play JV games with our small numbers so this was a great two weeks in a row that our younger kids have gotten a lot of playing time, and I think that’s very helpful to us.”
During the two-week stretch, Frommeyer has seen solid play from a number of younger guys, including the Armstrong twins (Sean and Shane), who both scored touchdowns during the stretch, Travis Fischer, who has gotten in on a bunch of tackles, and Clayton Keiser, who has shown improvements on the defensive line.
“They work hard every day in practice and it’s great to see them get out there,” Frommeyer said. “I’ve been pleased with all of them. It’s been great to see their progress.”
But it was the older guys, including 10 seniors, that gave Eminence the early lead against Bishop Brossart on Senior and Parent Night. The Warriors were in front 26-0 after a dominated first quarter and 40-0 at the half. During the third and fourth quarter, the clock continued to run as the 40-plus mercy rule came into effect.
Eminence finished with 515 yards on the offensive side of the ball, led by Dre Banta’s 12-of-16 passing for 267 yards and one touchdown. Ed Berry caught nine passes for 186 yards, Brock Roberts caught one pass for 44 yards, Brad Tapia caught one pass for 21 yards and Byrone Foree caught one pass for 16 yards. On the ground attack, which saw the Warriors finish with 248 yards, TJ Cooper had his seventh game of the season of 100-or-more yards with 11 carries for 104 yards, while Brad Tapia took three handoffs for 58 yards, Banta had three carries for 39 yards and Sean Armstrong, who plays second-team quarterback, kept the ball nine times for 21 yards.
Defensively, Eminence was equally as impressive with its second shutout of the season while allowing Bishop just 45 yards rushing and 25 yards passing. The Tapia brothers (Brad and Chad) led the charge with eight tackles apiece, including four sacks from Chad. Also, Eminence had four interceptions with Cooper, Berry, Zach Raisor and Mark Goodwin picking off a pass each.
Bishop tried to confuse Eminence from the start with a new swinging-gate offense that lines the offensive linemen away from the center, and later went to a no-huddle offense. But neither worked as the Warriors scored at will and kept Bishop out of the end zone.
When Eminence and Bishop traded tapes the week before the game, one of the tapes Eminence handed over was the contest against Henry County — the only game Eminence has lost this season (55-6). In that game, Henry used the swinging-gate to score one 2-point conversion, and ran its offense with a no-huddle. Apparently, Bishop saw that and decided to try the sets more against Eminence, including using the swinging-gate in a shotgun with no backs from the first series.
“We really weren’t expecting that,” Frommeyer said of the formations. “We hadn’t seen that on film from them, so I was very pleased with our kids for making the adjustments and handling the situation well.”
From the start, Eminence went to the front and never looked back. On the very first play from the line of scrimmage, Banta went to the air with Berry making a one-handed catch 40 yards down field. Cooper ended the first drive, which lasted less than a minute, with a 10-yard carry to put the Warriors ahead 6-0.
Before the first 12 minutes came to an end, the Warriors reached the end zone three more times to stretch their margin. Banta connected with Berry on a 44-yard touchdown play and Cooper ran in the extra point; Banta scored on a 4-yard run; and Cooper scored on a 3-yard run.
With eight minutes to go in the second quarter, Cooper broke open on a long run to reach the end zone from 53 yards out and Frankie Ayers scored on the 2-point conversion. Later in the quarter, Cooper scored on a 3-yard run to put the Warriors ahead 40-0 at the half.
During the second half, while the clock continued to run except for timeouts, Banta scored on a 35-yard run and Trey Hernandez scored on the 2-point conversion run. Sean Armstrong scored Eminence’s final touchdown on a 4-yard quarterback keeper.
After the 7-1 start, the Warriors have two important games before the postseason starts Nov. 14. They will travel to Frankfort this Friday in a showdown that will determine the Class A, District Four champions, then will play either North Hardin Christian or Beth Haven Nov. 3 in the unofficial Kentucky 8-Man State Finals. This Friday’s game, which will also determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the state playoffs, is first on the radar for Eminence.
“It’s a big game for us,” Frommeyer said. “If we win, it will put us in good shape for the playoffs with home field advantage for the first two weeks. Hopefully, we can just keep on rolling. Our kids have definitely improved over the course of the season. I think we’re playing better right now than at any other point in the season, and hopefully we will keep on improving.”
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