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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Eagles fall to Skyline

Friday, October 28, 2011

Breaking free. Junior quarterback Cedric O'Hara breaks free for a Pierce City touchdown during the first quarter of Thursday night's game against Skyline. The Eagles fell 33-27. [Photo by Traci Osborn]
"Do your best and there's nothing to be ashamed of. Those are the 11 guys out on the field I've been looking for. Lot of heart," Pierce City coach Mac Whitehead told his team at the end of last night's 33-27 loss to the Skyline Tigers.

Though heavily outmatched, Pierce City was still in the thick of the battle until late in the fourth quarter when the Eagles ran out of opportunity and momentum.

Pierce City had 268 yards rushing on 49 plays and seven first downs on the night, compared to 359 yards rushing for Skyline on 62 plays and 20 first downs.

The game began abruptly in Pierce City's favor. The Eagles had a successful on-side kick, and two plays later quarterback Cedric O'Hara ran the ball 49 yards to score. With a good kick, the Eagles were ahead 7-0 with less than a minute off the clock.

Skyline then went to work on a 12-play drive that lasted six minutes, ending in a 12-yard run by wide receiver Logan Bryan for the score. Bryan, gave the Eagles trouble all night, running half the plays in the drive. The extra point was blocked, leaving Pierce City ahead 7-6.

The Eagles jumped back in action as O'Hara put his passing game to work. Two tosses to running back Wayne Joe Sooter plus a nine-yard run by running back Curtis Palmer led to another score. Sooter broke loose for a 66-yard run after the second pass to score. A good kick by O'Hara put the Eagles up 14-6 with four minutes left in the first quarter.

Skyline marched back down the field in 12 plays, seven by Bryan, to score as the second quarter began. Running back Zack Bennett barrelled in four yards for the TD. An incomplete extra point pass left the Eagles ahead 14-12.

Four plays into Pierce City's next drive an O'Hara pass bounced out of the receiver's hands and into those of Skyline linebacker Dayln Trippe. The Tigers then launched a seven-play drive to take the lead as quarterback Brennan Holt went to the air four times, connecting with wide receiver Josh Brown in the end zone for the score. The two-point conversion was intercepted, putting Skyline up at 18-14.

Pierce City's next drive lasted seven plays and stalled at mid-field. Sooter intercepted a Holt pass three plays later, and the Eagles got to business. Six plays later, divided in runs between O'Hara and Palmer, Pierce City scored. O'Hara ran in the final two yards and kicked the extra point, putting the Eagles up 21-18 at halftime.

Energized by their defense with three and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Skyline launched an eight-play drive to score. Five runs by Bryan and a one-yard punch to score by Bennett was topped by a good extra point kick to put the Tigers ahead 25-21 as the quarter ended.

Whitehead got his players together on the sideline and said, "This is your last 12 minutes. You start believing. This is our quarter. No mistakes."

Rallied, the Eagles got the ball at midfield on an unsuccessful on-side kick from Skyline, then put together a combined attack with runs for significant gains by Palmer, Sooter and O'Hara. In nine plays, the Eagles scored with O'Hara running through holes at the goal line in a four-yard sprint. The extra point was blocked, leaving Pierce City up 27-25 with seven and a half minutes to go.

Skyline came back with five consecutive runs by Bryan, a 15-yard run by Bennett and a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jared Freddie to score in 10 plays. A successful pass for the extra point put the Tigers ahead 33-27.

Pierce City went to the air for three of the next four plays, connecting on only one O'Hara toss before stalling at midfield. Palmer's last ditch run on fourth down gained only two of the needed eight yards. Skyline took over, and time ran out four plays later.

Sooter was Pierce City's leading rusher with 102 yards on nine carries. Palmer had 74 yards on 17 carries. O'Hara completed five of 10 passes for 102 yards.

Bryan led Skyline with 196 yards on 34 carries. Holt completed 11 of 17 passes for 124 yards.

Asked what the Eagles needed to do over the summer to get ready for next season, Whitehead said, "Get in the weight room."

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