By David Fong
CASSTOWN — When the Miami East football team’s seniors graduated from high school a few months ago, they did so knowing they had accomplished something no other class in school history had ever done before — reach the playoffs every year of their high school career.
It was yet another banner season for the Vikings — who, just before the turn of the century were considering cancelling football due to the programs lack of numbers and competitiveness — who went 8-3, captured a share of the Cross County Conference championship, finished with 34 total wins (tied for the most in school history) and went to the playoffs for the fourth year in a row and the sixth time in school history.
As good as things would end up for Miami East, however, things certainly got off to an inauspicious start as the Vikings dropped the season opener, 21-7, to county rival Milton-Union, a Division IV playoff qualifier.
The Vikings would quickly rebound, however, peeling off five wins in a row, while never scoring less than 42 points during the winning streak. During the five-game stretch, Miami East outscored the opposition by an average of 48.6 to 14.0.
The roll got started with a 43-0 win over National Trail. Logan May ran for three touchdowns and hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Braxton Donaldson for another as the Vikings’ offense rolled. Kurt Brower and Cody Smith also added touchdowns, while the Viking defense pitched a shutout.
Things were much the same the next week in a 42-16 romp over Ansonia. Justin Brown started the scoring on the night with that 85-yard touchdown, then Donaldson scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 13-yard run. May — who finished with 150 yards on seven carries — had a pair of touchdowns, a 63- and a 56-yard run, Brower had 12 carries for 101 yards, including a 2-yard score, and Donaldson added one more 2-yard touchdown. All told, the Vikings had 374 yards on the ground.
In Week 3, Miami East put up 62 points — but also gave up 40 — in a victory over Arcanum.
“Both offenses came to play. The defenses? I don’t know,” East coach Max Current said after the game.
May — who had more than 300 yards of total offense himself — scored on runs of 49 and 84 yards to give East a 14-6 lead after one, but Arcanum scored back-to-back touchdowns to grab an 18-14 lead. Donaldson then threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Arron Adams and a 9-yard score to Brower, and the Vikings led 28-18 at the half.
May then caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Donaldson and ran for scores of 14 and 63 yards in the third to make it 49-32 heading into the final quarter, and May added two more touchdowns of 19 and 2 yards in the fourth to put it away.
May had 286 yards and six touchdowns on 17 carries and Donaldson was 7 for 13 for 119 yards and three scores to lead the way.
The Vikings marked the midway point of the season with a 48-7 win over Mississinawa Valley. Brower ran for 207 yards and four touchdowns on only 10 carries, scoring on runs of 8, 3, 35 and 76 yards. Adams had three carries for 103 yards and a 50-yard touchdown, May had four carries for 73 yards and a 32-yard score and Levi Adducchio had five carries for 76 yards and a 54-yard score.
In Week 6, Miami East posted a second-straight 48-7 victory, this time over rival Bethel. May got the scoring started for East with a 1-yard plunge, then Adams added a TD run to extend the lead to 14-0. After a touchdown rub by Brower, Donaldson hooked up with May on a 69-yard touchdown strike.
Brower, Adducchio and Vincent Villella all would add touchdowns runs as the Vikings piled up 428 yards on the ground.
That set up a titanic match-up against perennial CCC-powerhouse Covington in Week 7. Both teams came into the game undefeated in the conference.
Miami East jumped out to a 14-0 lead just before halftime when Donaldson hit May with a 35-yard touchdown pass, then scooped up a Covington fumble on defense and returned it for a touchdown.
Covington dominated the second half, however, scoring a pair of touchdowns — one with just 15 seconds left in the game — to tie things up at 14 and send the game into overtime.
In overtime, both teams scored, but Covington was able to convert on its extra point attempt and Miami East was not, giving the Buccaneers the victory and a leg up in the race for the CCC title.
That leg up disappeared the next week, however, as Covington was upset by Twin Valley South and Miami East rolled to a 56-27 victory over Tri-County North, forcing a tie atop the CCC standings. Both teams would win out the final three weeks of the season, giving each team a share of the CCC title.
Against TC North, Brower had 212 yards on 26 carries, Adams had 167 yards on 15 attempts and May had 93 yards on 11 carries to lead the way. Donaldson was also 4 for 7 passing for 82 yards, with May grabbing three receptions for 59 yards.
In Week 9, Miami East defeated county foe Troy Christian, 41-24. East jumped out to a quick lead on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Donaldson to May. Logan West followed that with a 48-yard fumble return for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 14-0 lead.
East would scored two more touchdowns before halftime — one on a Brower run and one on a pass from Donaldson to May.
Brower led the Vikings in rushing with 152 yards on 19 carries, May had 74 yards on eight attempts and Adams had 52 yards on seven attempts.
Miami East closed out the regular season with a 41-6 win over TV South to clinch a share of the CCC title.
Three of the Vikings’ running backs hit the 100-yard mark on the night. Brower led the way with 177 yards on 19 carries, May had 138 yards on 18 carries and Adams finished with 100 yards on seven carries. Donaldson finished 4 for 6 for 71 yards passing.
The win was also the senior class’ 34th victory — tying the Miami East High School record.
In the playoffs, Miami East drew a first-round contest against four-time defending state champion Marion Local. Marion Local took a 26-point lead into halftime, but the Vikings refused to quit, battling the Flyers until the final whistle.
“From Week 1 to Week 11, you say you want to get better,” Current said after the game. “Well, I’d say we definitely got better from Week 1 to now. These kids fought hard tonight.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong