Mounting their most impressive showing of the season, the Pierce City Eagles won their third football game in a row on Friday, beating the winless East Newton Patriots 56-20 on the road. The Eagles showed improvement in the defense and the passing game in addition making big plays in securing the win.
From the outset the Eagles had control of the game. Pierce City scored on its opening drive in eight plays, showing much of the team's armament. Four runs by runningback Garrett Garman, big gain pass plays from quarterback Wayne Sooter to wide receiver Mitchell Gibson and tight end Jared Barchak, and two runs by fullback Curtis Palmer, including the one-yard dash for the touchdown, showed the classic Pierce City game plan. The Eagles were on the scoreboard in three and a half minutes with a 6-0 score, after the extra point kick failed.
East Newton could not move the ball. Two runs by runningback Sam Mansfield gained only four yards. After an incomplete pass the Patriots kicked the ball back.
Pierce City runningback Alex Clayton gained 20 yards on the Eagles' next play. With that kickstart, the Eagles marched 77 yards in eight plays, with a 12-yard pass play to Palmer and two runs by Garman, including the last six yards to score. Sooter ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 14-0.
East Newton next gained five yards in four plays and punted the ball back. Two plays later, Sooter connected on a pass to Wayne Joe Sooter, who ran 66 yards to score. Cox ran the ball in for two, leaving the score 22-0 as the first quarter ended.
On their next drive the Patroits banged out nine yards and gave up the ball on their 43-yard line when the fourth-down conversion failed. Then the Eagles put Cox to work, running 31 yards in four carries. On the eighth play of the drive, Barchak ran in the TD from five yards, Cox ran for the two-point conversion, making the score 30-0 after three and a half minutes in the second quarter.
Redoubling efforts, East Newton finally mounted its running game behind Mansfield, who broke loose for 35 yards in four runs. In 10 plays the home team went 64 yards to score, including a 27-yard gain on fourth down by wide receiver Taylor Hunt. Williams ran in the score and kicker Sean Yang made the tally 30-7 for halftime.
In the third quarter East Newton went to the air. After completing one of four passes in the first half, quarterback Jaron McCully connected for nine of 14 in the quarter. The Patriots sustained a 13-play, six-minute drive to score on a 17-yard pass play to Williams. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 30-13.
A pass interference call enabled the Eagles to start their drive at midfield. With a 34-yard pass play to Palmer, Pierce City reached East Newton's 16-yard line. Three plays later, Sooter connected on a pass to Barchak to score. The extra point took three attempts with penalties. Pierce City's quarterback scored by holding the ball over the goal line on a dive out of bounds, raising the score to 38-13 with three minutes left in the quarter.
McCully kept connecting on medium range passes for the Patriots, but East Newton stalled out on Pierce City's 42 after seven plays, turning the ball over on downs.
As the fourth quarter started, Sooter connected on a pass to Gibson, who ran 50 yards to the Patriot six-yard line. On the sixth play of the drive, Sooter passed to wide receiver Robert Baldwin to boost the score to 44-13 with 10 minutes left in the game.
After a 28-yard kickoff return, East Newton used its four ball carriers running and catching passes to drive the ball 52 yards in 10 plays to score. From one yard out, McCully punched the ball over the goal line to score. Yang's field goal was good, putting the score at 44-20.
A botched on-sides kickoff gave the Eagles possession at midfield. Two plays later, Garman, surrounded by a phalanx of blockers, ran 22 yards up the middle to score. The extra-point kick failed, putting the score at 50-20.
Two plays later, Pierce City defensive back Jordan Saffer intercepted a McCully pass and ran it to the Patriot 17-yard line. With reserves on the field, the Eagles still pushed in to score in three plays. Runningback Garron Cantrell ran in the final seven yards to end scoring at 56-20 with nearly four minutes left in the game.
East Newton's final drive lasted seven plays and ended with a quarterback sack.
Garman led the Eagles with 89 yards in 11 carries. Wayne Joe Sooter had 85 yards in four carries. Gibson had 82 yards in three plays.
Williams led the Patriots with 92 yards in 15 carries. Hunt had 78 yards in six carries.
Pierce City, now 3-2, plays at Miller on Friday.
In other bi-county action, Miller maintained its dominance in the Spring River Valley Conference with a 40-12 victory over Lockwood.