The Pierce City Eagles found their footing as a football team on the fourth game of the season on Friday, racking up 410-yards of offense and a 34-6 win for homecoming over the Liberal Bulldogs. Queen Katelyn Hansen and her court watched the Eagles struggle at the beginning of the game but then take control for three-and-a-half quarters for their second win of the season.
Initially it looked like anyone's ballgame. Liberal, going into the game with a 2-1 record, opened with an on-sides kick that gained the Bulldogs possession at the Pierce City 43-yard line. Solid gains by runningbacks Zach Lovell and Jordan Meadows drove the ball to the Pierce City three-yard-line in eight plays. Quarterback Colton Selvey ran in for the score. The run for extra points failed after a bad snap, leaving the Bulldogs ahead 6-0 with eight-and-a-half minutes left in the quarter.
The Eagles charged back, sparked by a completed pass to Robert Baldwin, who then recovered his own fumble. Runningback Garrett Garman carried the ball four times. A pass from quarterback Wayne Sooter to tight end Jared Barchak resulted in a 20-yard gain to score. The extra point kick was blocked, leaving the gain tied 6-6.
A stiffening Pierce City defense held Liberal to two yards in four plays before giving the ball back. A short punt started the Eagles from midfield. With a 28-yard pass play to Baldwin, Pierce City moved to the 20-yard-line in three plays. Runningback Cody Cox got the ball to the one, and Sooter punched it over to score. Cox then successfully ran in the two-point conversion play to put Pierce City ahead 14-6 as the first quarter ended.
Liberal's next drive stalled out after 14 yards. Pierce City's drive started with a jumping, angular run by Alex Clayton for nine yards. Two plays later, Clayton got the ball again and scampered 63 yards to score. Garman ran in the extra point to put the Eagles up 22-6 with 9:15 left in the half.
Liberal then mounted a 13-play drive with six carries by wide fullback Wade Sprenkle. The Bulldogs gained 36 yards but turned over possession on downs at the Pierce City 44. On the next play, Sooter connected on a pass to Barchak for a 49-yard gain. Cox ran seven more yards to score, leaving the halftime score at 28-6.
Starting the second half, Liberal again mounted a strong drive, connecting on the Bulldogs' only completed pass of the night to Meadows and gaining two first downs. The drive died on downs at the Pierce City 18-yard-line as the Eagles stopped Meadows on fourth and three.
The Eagles marched upfield in 11 plays, mostly on runs by fullback Curtis Palmer and Clayton. Barchak gained 30 yards on a pass reception, after which Sooter broke loose along the sidelines for a 25-yard dash to score. The kick ended scoring for the night at 34-6 with three and a half minutes left in the third quarter.
Liberal gained four yards in its next possession before giving the ball back in four plays. Pierce City started at its 14 and got to the Liberal 43-yard-line in nine plays. Liberal gained one yard on its next possession then drove the Eagles away with a 41-yard punt that rolled dead on the Eagles' 15-yard-line.
After that, neither team moved the ball far before turning it over. Pierce City back-up quarterback Cedric O'Hara came in for Pierce City's last five plays and had success keeping the team in motion.
Barchak was Pierce City's leading ball carrier with 106 yards on four pass receptions. Clayton was second with 97 yards on eight plays. Garman had 83 yards on 13 carries.
Meadows led the Bulldogs with 79 yards on 12 carries. Sprenkle was second with 37 yards on 13 carries.
In other bi-county games, miller defeated Jasper in Spring River Valley Conference play 33-20. Miller secured a 20-7 halftime lead, with both teams matching second half scores. Ash Grove overcame the Marionville Comets 16-7.
Pierce City, now 2-2, plays Friday at East Newton.