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Pierce City comes up short against McAuley

Monday, October 15, 2012

Running hard. Pierce City tailback Cedric O'Hara turns the corner looking for extra yardage during the Eagles' game against McAuley on Oct. 12. [Photo by Traci Osborn]
The Pierce City Eagles football team (3-5) fell 42-41 to the McAuley Catholic Warriors (5-3) on Oct. 12.

McAuley received to open the game and drove 69 yards on nine plays.

Running back Greg Carney carried the ball the last 12 yards for the score. Cole Lowery then ran for the extra point and McAuley was up 8-0.

Fumble. Zack Hyde knocks the ball loose from a McAuley running back during the Eagles contest on Oct. 12. [Photo by Traci Osborn]
The following kickoff was taken at the 20 by Cedric O'Hara, of Pierce City, who ran up the middle of the field, broke through a couple of tackles and out ran everyone for an 80-yard touchdown return. Darren Cox toed the extra point to cut the lead to 8-7.

On the next Warrior drive, quarterback Mitch Wear found receiver Greg Carney for a 48-yard touchdown strike for the second Warrior touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

Pierce City was three and out on its next drive and a nice punt pinned the Warriors at their 20-yard line.

McAuley's first play was an inside screen pass tipped by Pierce City's lineman Dalton Boykin, who managed to catch the ball for an interception at the Warriors' 15.

Four plays later, Kole Kelley scored on a quarterback sneak and with 4:06 remaining in the first quarter to pull the Eagles to within 14-13.

Each team traded possessions after failing to convert on fourth down

A Kelley interception gave the Warriors new life at the 32-yard line, but it would be the Eagles' defensive back Zack Hyde who stepped up to make a play for Pierce City.

Facing a third down and five, Wear's pass was intercepted by Hyde, who returned it 32 yards to give the Eagles a 19-14 lead with 11:52 left in first half.

The Warriors next drive started in Eagle territory after a nice kickoff return to the 45-yard line.

Ten plays later, running back Anthony Bertoncino scored from 16 yards out, and McAuley regained the lead 22-19.

After an exchange of punts, the Eagles mounted a five-play, 31-yard scoring drive capped by a Kelley's 18-yard touchdown run to give the green and white a 25-22 halftime lead.

McAuley opened the second half with an on-side that failed when Pierce City's Sutter Hall pounced on the ball.

Pierce City's drive stalled and McAuley took over at its own 19-yard line.

The Warriors moved the ball 81 yards in 12 plays. Lowery scored on a short run to help McAuley regain a 30-25 advantage.

"We have got to stop them on money downs (third and fourth downs)," said Pierce City coach Matt Holt. "Third and long, fourth and long couldn't get that done tonight. They made the plays and we didn't."

After a McAuley penalty on the kickoff, Pierce City started with good field position at the McAuley 41.

The Eagles quickly moved the ball to the 5-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.

But the frustration of not scoring was short lived.

Pierce City's defense was tough and forced a fourth and 8. Against conventional wisdom, McAuley went for it and came up short.

Pierce City took over the ball at the McAuley 13.

Kelley carried the ball three straight times and collected his third touchdown of the night.

Kelley passed to Hyde for the two-point conversion and Pierce City took a 33-30 lead.

McAuley's next drive featured a short passing offense. Wear found Collin Hughes three times for 20 yards and tossed it once to Lowery for an 8-yard gain.

"We knew they were a good passing team with a very good quarterback," said Holt. "They run a lot of crossing patterns and then go deep. We decided, with everything they do in the passing game, to take away the middle and the deep pass and give them the curl pattern for short gains."

The drive ended with Lowery carrying the ball across the goal line from the eight yards out to regain a 36-33 lead with 8:48 left in the game.

Pierce City had to score and score quickly.

A two minute drive featuring two carries by wide receiver Caleb Lasswell for 9 yards, three runs by O'Hara for 12 yards and three totes by Kelley for 14 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run to give Pierce City a 41-36 edge with 6:18 left to play.

On the next drive, McAuley faced a fourth and long at the Warrior 40-yard line.

Wear found Cole Lowry over the middle of the field for 40 yards. Colton Drollinger's tackle saved a touchdown for the moment. But on the next play, Wear ran the remaining 20 yards to give the Warriors the lead for good.

"Our defense just couldn't make the play when we needed it," said Holt. "We gave up big plays at critical times. We moved well on offense, but didn't get the extra points that we needed."

Pierce City travels to Lockwood on Oct. 19. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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