|"We just have some players that make bad decisions," said head coach Mac Whitehead. Six personal fouls for 90 yards were charged against the Eagles. "We just have to learn to make better choices."||The game began to slip away from Pierce City on the opening possession. McAuley won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Warriors fielded the kick-off at the five-yard line.|
The kick returner seemed to be corralled at the seven, but a couple of nifty moves and he broke free for 83 yards to the Eagles' nine-yard line. The next play was a nine-yard run for a touchdown. The PAT was no good, and McAuley was up 6-0.
The Warrior defense stiffend, and McAuley took over on downs.
|The Warrior's offense moved the ball effectively against Pierce City all night. A combination of rushing and passing showed a very balanced attack.|
"We knew they were a good football team," said Whitehead. "Being Pierce City, we are going to get everyone's best game. They threw the ball well and gave us some trouble there."
The Eagles' struck quickly on their second drive.
Pierce City started with bad field position, and it wasn't improved by a nine-yard loss on a bad pitch that was fumbled but recovered by Pierce City on its own three-yard line. On the next play, O'Hara took a mid-line option play up the middle for a 97-yard touchdown. The score was tied 6-6.
Pierce City took the lead on their third possession of the game and marched the ball down the field and scored on an O'Hara sneak to make the score 12-6.
McAuley was able to advance the ball into Eagle territory on the next drive by completing a 25-yard pass and a nice 11-yard option play but the drive stalled out at the Eagles' 26. Facing fourth and 12, the Warriors attempted a field goal but the kick was wide left.
Pierce City moved the ball on the ground to the Warriors' one-yard liane where Curtis Palmer took a dive play for the touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, and the Eagles were up 18-6.
McAuley's next drive appeared to stall when Madison Deem tackled a Warriors' running back for a six-yard loss on fourth down, but a personal foul away from the play allowed McAuley got a new set of downs.
This would prove all the Warriors needed as McAuley scored on four-yard run on the outside two plays later. The two-point conversion pass was intercepted.
After a Warrior punt on their next possession, the Eagles struck again on a 55-yard pass from O'Hara to Sooter to go ahead 24-12.
McAuley answered the Eagles' score with a four-play 46-yard drive to cut the lead to 24-18.
Pierce City was unable to move the ball on offense and turned the ball over on downs on its next drive, and the Warriors scored on a 23-yard pass play to tie the score. The PAT was good, and McAuley led 25-24.
With McAuley up one and eight minutes, to go in the game Pierce City got the ball back. The drive started at the 20-yard line after a touchback on the kick-off. The Eagles mounted a strong running attack on big gains by Curtis Palmer for 12 yards, Wayne Joe Sooter for 13 and Cedric O'Hara for 11.
With the ball at the 50-yard line, the Eagles attempted a middle screen pass. This would prove costly. The pass was intercepted and run back to the one-yard line. Two plays later the Warriors scored. The PAT was no good but a personal foul on the Eagles allowed another kick. This one was good and the score was 32-24 in McAuley's.
Pierce City again moved the ball on the ground for a first and 10 on the McAuley 20. An option by O'Hara went for no gain. Three passes fell incomplete, and the Warriors took over on downs.
A McAuley fumble two plays later was recovered by the Eagles with 1:30 left in the game. A quick strike from O'Hara to Caleb Laswell for 40-yards took the Eagles to the four-yard line.
Sooter ran for two yards, and the Eagles scored on the next play on a two-yard dive by Palmer. The Eagles trailed 32-30 and went for the two-point conversion to tie.
Pierce City took Palmer out and O'Hara set up in the shotgun with an empty backfield and three receivers to the right. O'Hara kept the ball on the read-option, and the run came up an inch short. The Warriors held on for the two-point victory.
"We knew they were going to be keying on Curtis," Whitehead said, "so we went with Cedric. He made the right read, but we just came up a little short."
The Eagles travel to Lockwood next week for a conference showdown.
"Lockwood is a lot like McAuley," Whitehead said. "They will be athletic, and they will throw the ball. It will be a good test for us."
Kickoff on Friday is slated for 7 p.m.