Rob Le Cates
The 2021 season is in the books for the Eastern football team after a 20-13 loss to Murray State at O’Brien Field.
The Panthers end the season with an overall record of 1-10 and a conference record of 1-5. This season becomes the third-straight one-win season for Eastern.
Eastern jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run from running back Harrison Bey-Buie. The score was tied 13-13 at halftime, but Murray State had the only score of the second half and held Eastern’s offense to 107 yards in the final two quarters.
The Panthers had several chances to try and tie the score in the second half, but had one drive end on a fumble on the Murray State 3-yard line and their final possession end in a turnover on downs on the Murray State 32-yard line.
It was also Senior Day for the Panthers as 14 members of the team were honored in a pregame ceremony. Several of these players also contributed to the game Saturday.
Quarterback Chris Katrenick started for the Panthers and had his most productive game of the season. He was 24-of-42 passing for 216 yards, setting a new season high by 41 yards. Wide receiver Robbie Lofton had three catches for 44 yards.
Defensive lineman Justin Growel had 5 tackles and punter Logen Neidhardt punted six times for an average of 45 yards and a long of 68 yards.
Non-seniors also performed well in all phases for the Panthers.
Wide receiver Isaiah Hill caught 13 passes for 110 yards. Saturday was Hill’s fifth game back this season after missing last season and the beginning of this season with an injury. It was his third-straight game with 10 catches and 100 yards. He leads the team in receptions and receiving yards this season despite missing over half the season.
Linebacker Jason Johnson led all players with 12 total tackles and two tackles for loss. He also had a fumble recovery. Linebacker Colin Bohanek had 10 tackles and two tackles for loss while also having one of the two Eastern sacks in the game.
Murray State had 284 rushing yards in the game, led by running back Damonta Witherspoon led the team with 135 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Quarterback DJ Williams had 83 rushing yards on 13 attempts and running back Cortezz Jones had 71 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Williams was 7-of-14 passing for just 59 yards in the game.
Neither kicker missed in the game, with Eastern’s Stone Galloway and Murray State’s Aaron Baum each making two field goals. Baum made both extra points and Galloway converted his only PAT attempt. One of Baum’s field goals was a 58-yarder near the end of the first quarter.
Murray State finishes the regular season with a 6-5 overall record and 3-3 conference record.
Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]