WALESKA -- It wasn’t pretty, but by the end of Reinhardt’s homecoming game against in-state foe Point, at least the Eagles were having fun.
Reinhardt overcame early turnovers, penalties and a lethargic rushing attack in a 28-10 victory Saturday night.
The defense kept the Eagles (5-1, 2-0 Mid-South West) in the game early, giving up just one field goal after two turnovers-on-downs and lost fumbles on consecutive plays backed up in their own territory.
Then, after the offense claimed a tight 14-10 lead going into the fourth quarter, Reinhasrdt returned a Point fumble for a touchdown when defensive lineman Teon Burroughs picked up a fumble and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown, juking out of danger in the process.
The Eagles also notched two interceptions in the second half — one from Josh Vinson that was nearly returned for a score before the ball was jarred out for a touchback, and one from Cam Barrington late.
“I can’t say enough about the way our defense played in this game,” Reinhardt head coach James Miller said. “To say that I was ecstatic with the way they played would be an understatement.”
The Eagles’ 223 rushing yards might look good for most teams, but for a team that is used to scoring in bunches, the last two weeks of 27- and 28-point totals have been a wakeup call. Miller hopes his team can make some significant hurdles before next week’s game at Bluefield.
“They’ve not been in a lot of these games yet,” Miller said. “We’ve got the kids up. We were down at halftime, and that has happened to us twice now this season.”
The other concern for Reinhardt heading into the bulk of its schedule is the health of quarterback Billy Hall, who went down late in the first half with an arm injury and was wearing a sling on the sideline in the second half.
Former Hillgrove quarterback Hunter Arters filled in, carrying four times for 20 yards, including a dazzling 14-yard scamper to give the Eagles the 14-10 lead in the third quarter. Arters rolled right, then reversed field and made two men miss before diving into the end zone.
“He’s just a gamer,” Miller said of Arters. “That’s what (coach Phil) Ironside at Hillgrove told us when we recruited him. He may not wow you with his arm, and he’s not super fleet of food, but he owns the huddle, he commands attention. He doesn’t wow you in workouts, but, for some reason, when he’s in there, the team responds.”
Arters threw just two passes, missing both, while Hall had eight completions on 15 attempts, including a 40-yard strike to Dondre Sanderson to give Reinhardt a 7-3 lead in the second quarter.
Point (1-6, 0-2) took the lead back in the third when Derek Bellard rushed in from 3 yards, but the Eagles responded with a long kickoff return that set up Arters’ score. Reinhardt then put the game away late in the fourth when tailback Nick Harris rushed in from 10 yards out.
Hall led the Eagles with 68 rushing yards, while Jace Jordan was second with 48 on eight carries.
Reinhardt held the Skyhawks to just 10 total rushing yards, 98 total yards and a 2-of-16 third-down conversion rate.
The Eagles also recorded five sacks.