Eau Claire’s best defense turned out to be its offense Friday night at Bolden Stadium.
The Shamrocks used two onside kicks and an interception to limit Keenan to 10 offensive snaps and score 21 points during the second quarter of their 35-6 victory in a Region 3-2A opener.
Eau Claire’s strategy to use short kickoffs worked, keeping Keenan’s spread offense off the field for most of the second quarter.
"Just watching film, we saw some things we thought we could exploit," Eau Claire coach Ronnie Baker said. "It’s a big win for our program. Keenan’s had some success over the past couple of years, and we’ve been trying to put ourselves on the map."
Said Raiders coach Mitch Moton: "They had a great game plan. We didn’t play well on special teams, and it came back to hurt us."
Eau Claire (3-3) went up 7-0 in the first quarter on Reggie Folk’s 12-yard touchdown run to cap an eight-play, 68-yard opening drive. The Shamrocks threatened to score on their next possession but fumbled the ball away.
Keenan (1-5) couldn’t convert the turnover into points. On its ensuing possession, Eau Claire grabbed a 14-0 lead with 7:53 remaining in the first half on Marquise Boyan’s 20-yard touchdown run.
Xavier Briggs recovered Eau Claire’s first onside kick, which set up the Shamrocks at the Keenan 38. After a 9-yard loss, a Michael Diggs pass intended for Marquise Jones bounced out of Jones’ hands and into the hands of teammate Jordan Stuckey, who ran the ball in for a 47-yard touchdown.
The second onside kick - also recovered by Briggs - gave Eau Claire the ball back, but Keenan forced a punt. The
Raiders ran four plays before Diggs returned an interception to the Keenan 9.
Folk bulled into the end zone from 3 yards to give the Shamrocks a 28-0 lead with 1:24 to go in the first half.
Keenan mustered 53 yards in the first half.
"Those two pooch kicks hurt us," Moton said. "We could’ve gone in at halftime down 14-0 or so, but instead it was 28-0, and we couldn’t overcome it."
Boyan’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Briggs in the fourth quarter made it 35-0.
With less than a minute to go, Keenan avoided the shutout when quarterback Maurice Poole connected with Leontre Johnson on a 24-yard scoring play.
E – Folk 12 run (Jacobs kick), 7:05.
E – Boyan 20 run (Jacobs kick), 7:53.
E – Stuckey 47 pass from Diggs (Jacobs kick), 6:19.
E – Folk 3 run (Jacobs kick), 1:24.
E – Briggs 24 pass from Boyan (Jacobs kick), 8:54.
K – Johnson 24 pass from Poole (run failed), 0:44.
RUSHING: - Eau Claire, Boyan 5-40, Folk 13-48, Henderson 12-50, Briggs 1-8, Diggs 3-9, Griffin 1-4. Keenan, Foulks
2-17, Hyman 7-17, Poole 1-(-1), Easaw 1-2 .
PASSING: Eau Claire, Boyan 7-7-0, Diggs 2-4-0. Keenan, Poole 22-11-2.
RECEIVING: Eau Claire, Jones 3-54, Stuckey 2-47, Folk 1-2, Henderson 2-20, Briggs 1-24. Keenan, Johnson 2-36, Belton 3-31, Harris 2-13, Foulks 1-5, Hyman 2-31, Griffin 1-13.