The tone was set early by the Pierce City Eagles' defense; nothing was going to come easy for the Greenfield Wildcats.
|Greenfield went three and out on its opening procession and on fourth down elected to punt. The snap from center sailed over the punter's head and was covered up in the endzone for an Eagles' safety.|
By the time Wednesday night's regional playoff football game concluded the scoreboard showed a 42-16 Pierce City victory.
|"I thought we played extremely well in the first half," said Pierce City Head Coach Mac Whitehead. "We show intensity, drive and our front five really dominated."|
Pierce City moved the ball with ease in the first half. The Eagles increased the lead to 9-0 when running back Cody Cox broke a 70-yard run with 6:34 left in the first. Cox would finish the game with 167 rushing yards on 17 attempts.
After shutting down Greenfield on its next possession, the Eagles would drive 56 yards in 3:13 with fullback Curtis Palmer powering in from 25 yards out. Palmer rushed for 86 yards on nine attempts.
"Curtis (Palmer) was big for us tonight," said Whitehead. "He earned the tough yards and picked up first downs in critical situations."
Palmer twice helped the Eagles convert fourth and two. Each time it was his second effort that gave Pierce City the needed yardage.
The Wildcats would try to mount two drives at the end of the first half only to fumble the ball away. Wayne Joe Sooter recovered the first fumble, and Jason Cutbirth pounced on the second with 2:07 left in the first half on Greenfield's own 24 yard-line.
On Pierce City's ensuing drive, the offense sputtered to a fourth and six on the 20-yard line. Whitehead called time-out with 19.8 second left to dial up a play.
The call was a Hail Mary into the endzone. The Eagles' Robert Baldwin, who outjumped a Wildcat defender in the endzone came down with the ball, answering the prayer. That made the score 22-0 at halftime.
In the second half the Eagles scored on a Cedric O'Hara 53-yard scramble. Baldwin would catch a 79-yard strike from O'Hara, and Palmer would plow in from seven-yards out to put the game out of reach.
"At this stage of the season, you need big plays for your big players," said Whitehead. "We are a little banged up, but we will be ready on Monday."
Greenfield would add two scores in the fourth quarter when the game's outcome had already been decided.
"In the second half we relaxed a little, and the game got a little sloppy," added Whitehead. "We found a way to win and that is what good teams do. We will need to be focused if we are going to go deeper into the playoffs. "
Pierce City's win sets up a rematch with the Miller Cardinals on Monday night in Miller for a sectional game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.