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Monday, May 2, 2016

Pierce City falters against Miller

Monday, October 1, 2012

There were flashes of brilliance, of unstoppable offense and a defense that stopped runners at the line. But there wasn't enough firepower for the Pierce City Eagles to hold off the Miller Cardinals in a 47-14 loss at home on Friday.

Pierce City (3-3), with several offensive big guns sidelined from injury, went into the game as underdogs against Miller (6-0), ranked fifth in the state. It was clear from the outset why the Cardinals had respect, as the visitors scored in five plays. A 68-yard touchdown pass to running back Chance Taylor put the first points on the board with less than two and a half minutes used up on the clock.

The Eagles got the ball twice in the first quarter, gaining one first down and all 14 yards on the ground by running back Cedric O'Hara.

Gaining ground. Pierce City's Cedric O'Hara carried the pigskin for the Eagles in all but four carries in the first three quarters of Friday's game against Miller. It took three Miller tacklers to stop O'Hara early in the contest. [Photo by Tracy Osborn]
With five Cardinals carrying the ball, Miller's second score took two and a half minutes and eight plays. Tight end Chris Collins ran in the touchdown from the 9-yard line. The extra point kick was missed, putting the score at 13-0.

As the second quarter began, Miller capped an 11-play drive with a 3-yard run by tailback Brenden Richardson and a good extra point kick to make the score 20-0.

Pierce City quarterback Kole Kelley then mixed up Miller's focus by going to the air, completing three passes in Pierce City's nine-play drive. The toss to wide receiver Caleb Laswell in an open field resulted in an untouched scamper to the end zone. The extra point kick failed, putting the Eagles on the board 20-6 with five minutes left in the half.

Miller scored again in five plays, three by Richardson, who broke loose for 34 yards then ran the TD in from the 4-yard line. The extra point kick failed, putting the score at 26-6.

On the next play after kick-off, O'Hara broke through Miller's line in characteristic fashion, running 55 yards for the score. Kelley carried the two-point conversion in to put the Eagles at 26-14.

Miller quarterback Dalton Gulick, who connected for 10 of 11 passes in the first half, came out firing the ball. On his third completed pass in seven plays, Taylor jumped over the heads of the Pierce City defenders in the end zone for the TD. The extra point put the score at 33-14 at halftime.

An intercepted pass ended Pierce City's opening drive in the third quarter. Then Eagles' defense raised the Big Green Wall and held Miller to 3 yards in four plays, taking over possession on Pierce City's 15-yard line.

O'Hara took the ball for all five plays in Pierce City's drive, gaining 20 yards before the punt. The Eagles defense again rose to the occasion. After one completed pass, Miller turned the ball over on downs. The Eagles got the ball to midfield before punting it away.

With the running game stalled, Miller's Gulick went back to the air with his quick passes. In five plays, the Cardinals reached the 7-yard line, and from there running back Derrick Estell ran in the score. The extra point put the score at 40-14 as the fourth quarter began.

Pierce City's next drive ended in four plays as Estell intercepted a Kelley pass. Miller would score in seven plays, as Estell ran the ball in from the 5-yard line. The extra point kick put the final score at 47-14.

Pierce City drove to mid-field in seven more plays. Miller had six more plays before giving the Eagles three more chances before time ran out.

"We're just young," said head coach Matt Holt. "We started seven sophomores on defense tonight. The defense started to gel, but they couldn't adjust to the speed. We played well in the middle, but at the end, the strength of the seasoned players showed. And we were hit by the injury bug.

"The young guys have got a whole season to become varsity," Holt said. "We're going week by week."

Pierce City had 190 yards of offense, with 43 yards of it passing. The Eagles had 46 plays and 7 first downs.

Kelley completed 5 of 12 passes with two interceptions. O'Hara led the Eagles with 120 yards on 23 carries. Laswell had 48 yards on 3 carries.

Miller had 467 yards of offense, including 193 yards passing. The Cardinals had 62 plays and 17 first downs.

Gulick completed 14 of 17 passes. Taylor led the Cardinals with 153 yards on 19 carries. Richardson had 87 yards on 10 carries.

Pierce City goes back on the road Friday, Oct. 5, to play El Dorado Springs. Kick-off will be at 7 p.m.

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