Pierce City learns hard road lesson
Eagles see need to focus on every down
An 18-point loss on Friday was not what the Pierce City football team had in mind.
The Eagles (3-3) hit the road looking to build off a solid exhibition performance the week before against the Joplin JV squad, but instead were saddled with a defeat. While Coach Brad Hocker was not pleased with the loss, he chose to make the best of the situation with his team and told them to use the game as a teaching moment.
"The biggest thing we learned from the game is that we can't take any plays off on defense," Hocker said. "We forced them into several second down or third down and 12 or 14 yard situations, and then we would relax and they'd hit us with a big play for a first down or score. You have to finish what you start and get them to punt the ball."
Hocker also talked to his team about missed chances and opportunities.
"On the final play of the first half, we completed a pass and got tackled literally inches from the goal line," Hocker said. "That can't happen. We have to know the situation on the field. Our kids are smart and they play hard, but you can't cut corners and expect to be successful."
Hocker also credited the Bulldogs and their spinner offense for causing his team issues.
"I think the young kids had a hard time reading their offense," he said. "The field was a little greasy and wet, and you had young kids giving up key plays."
The Eagles led 14-8 with 4:57 left in the first half, but El Dorado Springs took a 16-14 lead with 2:17 left before intermission, and the Bulldogs did not relinquish it.
El Dorado Springs widened the gap to 24-14 with 5:54 left in the third quarter and kept piling up points, adding a score with 2:09 left in the third to go up 30-14.
Pierce City mounted a comeback effort at the start of the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 30-20, but El Dorado Springs responded, going up 38-20 with 10:13 left in the game.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard one more time to cut the lead to 38-26 with 8:16 remaining, but the Bulldogs put the final nail in Pierce City's coffin with 2:57 left to make the final score 44-26.
Hocker said the Bulldogs only completed one pass, but his team wasn't able to stop El Dorado Springs' ground attack.
Freshman running back Trey Sagehorn had a touchdown for the Eagles, and junior wide receiver Dallas Kleiboeker had two touchdown catches.
Pierce City hopes to end the regular season above .500 on Friday, as the Eagles host Sarcoxie. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.