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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pierce City rolls Jasper in opener

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hurried. Pierce City's sophomore quarterback Kole Kelly looks for a target down field as he helped lead the Eagles to a victory over Jasper Friday night. [Times Photo by Traci Osborn]
It was a battle of the Eagles Friday night as two nervous first-year football coaches prepared their teams for the start of the Missouri football season, but it was Pierce City's new coach, Matt Holt, whose nerves quickly turned to excitement.

With Pierce City opening its season on the road in Jasper, Zach Hyde took the opening kickoff for Pierce City at the 15, ran to the middle of the field, cut to the sidelines and raced untouched for an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. That quick score set the tone as Pierce City cruised to a 55-22 victory.

Jasper, on their first offensive drive, started on their own 35 and drove to the Pierce City 28 before a fumble ended the threat. That series would be their best in the first three quarters.

Smooth sailing. Senior Cedric O'Hara accounted for five Pierce City touchdowns during Friday night's football win over Jasper. O'Hara rushed for 228 yards in the game. [Times Photo by Traci Osborn]
"Our defense started off too aggressive," said Holt. "We were running by tackles. After that first drive, we stayed focused and waited. Our defense played very well."

On the next play, the first from scrimmage, Hyde took the ball for Pierce City on a reverse and ran 72 yards for his second trip to the end zone in the game's first five minutes.

The first half was all about the Pierce City rushing attack. Along with Hyde's long runs, the half was highlighted by two touchdown runs by running back Cedric O'Hara of 3 and 44 yards, and scoring jaunt of 34 yard by Bo Vincent.

Fighting for extra yardage. Bo Vincent fights for extra yardage for Pierce City during Friday night's gridiron tilt at Jasper. The Eagles host Greenfield this Friday. [Times Photo by Traci Osborn]
By halftime, the Pierce City lead had grown to 34-0. The second half started as the first.

After an O'Hara interception gave the green and white the ball at the Jasper 48, sophomore quarterback Kole Kelly, took the snap, ran up the middle of the line and broke to the outside for a 48-yard touchdown run, lifting Pierce City to a healthy 41-0 lead and initiated the turbo clock.

Kelly accounted for 167 total yards of offense for Pierce City (95 yard rushing, 72 yards on 6 of 10 passing).

It was an impressive showing of a very talented offensive line headed by Garron Cantrell and Jacob Smith that opened holes consistently in the Jasper defense.

However, it was O'Hara, last year's quarterback turned to running back, that had the biggest night. O'Hara finished the game with 228 yard rushing, averaging 11.4 yard per carry and accounted for five touchdowns and one interception.

"At the beginning of camp, the coaches all agreed that Cedric could help the team more this year as running back where we could get him outside quicker and meet defenders one on one." said Holt. "After all, he is probably the fastest guy in the league."

The fourth quarter, Jasper tried to make it a game with the help of several Pierce City penalties and a couple of good runs. The home team scored three times.

"We need to play to the end. We can't have those penalties at the end," said Holt. "But with 54 points, we may have one less wind sprint on Monday." Next week, Pierce City will have their home opener at Don Keebaugh Stadium against Greenfield Wildcats.

The Wildcats were 20-14 victors over Lockwood.

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