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East Butler Tigers

One of the most potent offenses in Class D-1 kept it rolling on Halloween night and put the East Butler season in the grave in a first-round playoff final in Murdock.

Behind five Drake Spohr touchdown runs, 419 total yards and 142 on returns, No. 5 Elmwood-Murdock handed East Butler a 74-16 loss, sending the Tigers home at 4-5 and with a second straight first-round playoff loss following a 60-24 defeat at the hands of Exeter-Milligan/Friend a year ago.

Elmwood-Murdock came into the night with five wins of 60 points or more including in each of the final three weeks of the season.

East Butler felt the brunt of that attack, allowing 54 points before finally finding the end zone in the third quarter. A week after Wade Wright rushed for 161 yards and scored five touchdowns, the Tiger senior managed 107 yards but was kept out of the end zone until the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand.

On the other sideline, Spohr finished with 215 yards and averaged 16.5 yards per carry.

"Elmwood-Murdock is an athletic team with good size on their line," East Butler coach Shawn Biltoft said. "They were a solid team that played well. We were unable to match their intensity."

The Knights scored four times in the first quarter and added two, two-point conversions for a 28-0 lead after the first 12 minutes. Spohr found the end zone on runs of 12 and 53, hit teammate Noah Willey for a 26-yard scoring pass then rumbled for 69 yards.

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He capped a drive with a 1-yard plunge in the second, hit Noah Arent for a 34-yard touchdown, Ahrent scored on a 34-yard run and a nine yard run all before halftime.

He then picked off a pass and went 30 yards in the third quarter for a 54-0 cushion.

Wade Wright ended the Tiger scoring drought on a 1-yard touchdown dive later in the quarter followed by Josh Malina adding the two-point run. Wright added a 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth, but EM scored on a Spohr 27-yard run following Wright's first touchdown then added a rushing and passing touchdown after his second.

The win advanced EM to a game Wednesday at home against 11-seed Tri County.

The Tigers say goodbye to seniors Nolan Mackovica, Austin Pierce, Rhynalds and Wright.

"I appreciate the work Austin, Nolan, Jaden and Wade put into our program," Biltoft said. "I wish them the best in the future. I am thankful I had the opportunity to coach each of them at East Butler."

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net.   

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