Senior Zach Crouch, the Eagles' standout offensive and defensive lineman, went down with a knee injury in the first quarter and was taken to the hospital for tests. It is uncertain how long the injury will keep him out. Nick Boggs, another senior, went out with a concussion and was lost for the season.
"When you lose a player the caliber of Zach Crouch it is always hard to recover," said head coach Mac Whitehead. "Zach was the anchor of our defensive line, and he has been such a leader for our team this year."
Greenfield (1-3) won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. After the opening kick-off things began to go wrong for Pierce City (3-1).
A false start on the first play set the tone for the game. On second down, the Eagles fumbled the pitch on the option and Greenfield recovered and ran it in for a touchdown. The extra-point try was no good, and Greenfield led 6-0.
The Eagles took over on their 42 after the kick and went to work. The offensive line dominated the Wildcats' defensive front the entire game, but the Eagles were unable to stop the Greenfield offense.
Fullback Curtis Palmer again put up big numbers on the ground, rushing for 142 yards, and quarterback Cedric O'Hara also had a good game, notching 101 yards rushing. Bo Vincent also gained 62 yards rushing.
Pierce City struck quickly scoring on the second possession. After short runs by Palmer and Vincent, the Eagles connected on a touchdown pass of 45-yards from O'Hara to Caleb Laswell. The extra point attempt failed, and the score was tied 6-6.
The Eagles scored again after a 10-yard run by Palmer and runs of five, seven and two yards by Vincent, setting up first and goal from the three. O'Hara ran the next play in for the touchdown, and the two-point conversion was good for a 14-6 Pierce City lead.
Greenfield scored on its next possession on a 55-yard pass to wide receiver Austin Marshall. The extra point again failed, and Pierce City lead 14-12.
The Eagles again swept down the field under a dominating running attack featuring a 58-yard run by Palmer behind center Madison Deems and guard Logan Deems and tackle Ryan Turner.
Palmer punched it in from two-yards out on fourth and goal to make the score 20-12, and the first half ended with that score.
The game went back and forth within the second half with both teams seeming to move the ball at will, but penalties and turnovers kept either team from scoring.
A Wildcat punt pinned the Eagles deep in their own territory. Two runs for no gain and a short gain of two yards led to a Pierce City punt from their own end zone. A bad long snap led to a blocked punt and Greenfield recovered in the Pierce City end zone for the safety. The score stood 20-14 after three quarters.
Greenfield drove the ball 65 yards on their next possession for a touchdown from the 4. The two-point conversion was no good, and the game, was tied 20-20.
Pierce City took over after the kick and a 16-yard run back by O'Hara. The Eagles struck quickly from the Greenfield 46 on a series of short gains for two first downs and ending on a 16-yard run by O'Hara for the touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, and the Eagles kicked with a 26-20 lead.
The next Greenfield drive went nowhere after a fumble was recovered by Palmer and safety Cole Kelly.
|The Eagles sustained a drive to the Greenfield 12 where it stalled after a fumble and a personal foul backed up Pierce City.|
A snap then sailed over O'Hara's head leading to a sack, which left the Eagles at third and a mile. The pass attempt was intercepted, and Greenfield took over.
With less than three minutes showing on the clock, the Wildcats struck quickly through the air for gains of 35, 25 and 14 yards giving them a first and goal from the Eagle 7. A fade route to the corner of the end zone connected, and the game was tied 26-26 with 9.6 seconds left on the clock.
The PAT was good, and Greenfield led 27-26.
The Eagles' last Hail Mary was intercepted, and Greenfield held on for the win.
"There is something about this team that keeps coming back game after game." Whitehead said. "We have a good week of practice, and they do everything we ask them to. Then the lights come on Friday night, and we don't execute."
The penalties and turnovers are an area of major concern for Whitehead.
"We are going to go back and re-evaluate every player this weekend," he said. "This is something we have to get fixed. District play is coming up in four weeks, and we need to get ready."
Pierce City hosts Jasper next Friday. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.