Racking up their biggest yardage total of the season, the Pierce City Eagles raised their record to 5-3 on Friday, beating the Stockton Tigers 41-14 in Pierce City.
Holding Stockton scoreless until the fourth quarter, Pierce City showed exceptional defense while scoring on both sustained drives and big plays. The Eagles' defense was so effective that Stockton, now 2-6 on the season, ended the game with negative rushing yardage.
Turnovers played a major role in the first half. The visiting team lost the ball on the third play of the opening drive when defensive back Alex Clayton intercepted the first pass attempted by Stockton quarterback Ely Hendricks at the Tigers' 40-yard line. With runs by fullback Curtis Palmer and runningbacks Garrett Garman, Cody Cox and Clayton, the Eagles got into the red zone in five plays.
Quarterback Wayne Sooter ran in the last five yards. The extra point kick missed, putting the Eagles ahead 6-0 with four and a half minutes gone in the game.
Hendricks hooked a pass to wide receiver Xavier Sloan, ran the ball himself and gained yardage from runningback Craig Johnson to get the ball to midfield before punting it away. Pierce City responded with a 10-play drive that gained 47 yards before running out of steam as the quarter ended.
Defense stalls both teams
Stockton tried to go to the air with four passes in a row by Hendricks. Two connected to Johnson and Sloan. Pierce City defensive end Jared Barchak deflected the last one to kill the drive.
The Eagles then hammered the Tigers with big runs by Palmer and Cox, gaining 80 yards in six plays. Knocking at the goal line, Pierce City fumbled the ball at the one-yard line and Stockton recovered, spared of a touchdown.
Hendricks ran the ball on three of the next four plays but was unable to get a first down. Taking over at the Stockton 44-yard line, the Eagles gained 20 yards on a run by Garman to get inside the 10-yard line in three plays with help from a Stockton penalty. Sooter ran the last 10 yards himself, weaving through the Stockton defense, then ran the two-point conversion to put the score at 14-0 with three and a half minutes left in the half.
Stockton air game stopped
Stockton returned to the air as Hendricks tried six passes in a row, connecting with wide receiver Timothy Andra and Sloan. Then Pierce City defenders sacked him twice to end the drive. Getting the punted ball back on the Pierce City 30-yard line, the Eagles got their first big play on the next snap. Clayton broke through a hole in the line and ran 70 yards to score. Garrett Garman's extra point kick was good, putting the score at 21-0 with 1:17 left in the half.
Hendricks passed on Stockton's next play, only to have his toss nabbed by Pierce City defensive back Robert Baldwin. Cox got loose on a 23-yard run and Wayne Joe Sooter caught a pass for 22 more yards. Throwing low into a crowded field, quarterback Sooter connected with wide receiver Mitchell Gibson on an eight-yard pass to score. The extra point kick missed, leaving the score at 27-0 at halftime.
Quick TD sparks Eagles
Taking the second half kickoff, the Eagles scored again in three plays. After two plays went nowhere, Sooter dropped a pass into the hands of Gibson, who had outrun his sole defender and dashed a total of 79 yards to score. Garman's extra point kick raised the score to 35-0 with one minute and 15 seconds gone off the clock.
Getting the ball back, Stockton gained 45 yards in four plays, three on completed passes, before Hendricks was sacked twiee and had his last pass intercepted by Baldwin on the Pierce City 17-yard line.
The Eagles marched back downfield in six plays on runs by Clayton, Cox, Garman and Sooter. Pierce City's quarterback broke free on a 25-yard run at the end to score. The extra point failed, leaving the score at 41-0 as the third quarter ended.
Visitors rally in last stanza
Stockton rallied for a seventy-yard drive then scored. A 30-yard pass to wide receiver Dalton Freeze and a 25-yard pass to Sloan capped the drive with a touchdown. Chase Broksieck's kick was good, setting the score at 41-7.
Pierce City's next drive ended in a fumble after seven plays. With three and a half minutes left on the clock, Hendricks went back to the air. Three out of five passes were caught. The third was deflected in the end zone, but Sloan snagged the floating ball for the TD. The extra point kick was good, ending scoring at 41-14. Pierce City ran out the clock with four plays on the ground to end the game.
Clayton led the Eagles with 110 yards on eight carries. Cox had 104 yards on 11 carries, and Gibson had 87 yards on two pass receptions.
Sloan led the Tigers with 87 yards on five pass receptions. Johnson had 55 yards on 11 carries.
Pierce City plays in Lamar on Friday.
In other bi-county games, Marionville had just enough offense to win 7-0 over Cabool. Miller was outgunned in a 54-14 loss to Thayer.