After getting Fulton's best shot in the first half Friday night at the BHS Sports Complex, the Boonville Pirates football team decided the time was right to pull away for another lopsided victory.
Of course you would have thought that last week's 21-20 lead at the half against the Kirksville Tigers would have been proof that slow starts will only get you so far.
Although Boonville wound up pulling away in the second half for a 42-26 victory against Kirksville, head coach Devin Brown was less than pleased with his team's performance for the first 24 minutes.
As it turned out, Brown probably thought he was watching the same game Friday night against the Hornets as Boonville trailed at one point by a score of 7-6 late in the first quarter. But just like last week, the Pirates found another gear in the second quarter and the second half for that matter while reeling off 33 unanswered points for a 47-21 victory.
"It was a tale of two halves, which is the same story as last week," Brown said. "The first half was a little bit slow. The kids probably won't admit it but I think they looked at the records a little bit more than what they should have and I told them that. I told everybody all week that its not going to be easy."
The good news is that Boonville will enter Friday night's game against the 5-2 Moberly Spartans with a four-game winning streak. While the Pirates have won four straight meetings against Moberly, including last year's 7-0 win at home, Brown said it's going to be tough on the road against their rival.
"We are going to have to be ready," Brown said.
Boonville senior linebacker Jared Oser, who had 11 total tackles and four sacks in the game against Fulton, concurs with Coach Brown about the Moberly game.
"They are a tough team but we should beat them if we play to our potential," Oser said. "In the game against Fulton we came out sluggish but did what we had to do in the end."
Needless to say the Spartans will enter the game with a chip on their shoulder for two reasons against Boonville. Along with dropping the last-four games against Boonville, the Spartans will also be looking to rebound after a 34-22 loss last Friday on the road against the Hannibal Pirates.
Although the Pirates were clearly the favorite against Fulton, the first half was a little too close for comfort with Boonville leading by a score of 21-13.
However after punting just once in the first half, the Pirates also turned the ball over on one possession at their own 37. Luckily for Boonville, the Hornets weren't exactly a well-oiled machine on offense for the night with four punts, one interception and three possessions going back to the Pirates on downs.
Page 2 of 4 - Of course the game started pretty much how the crowd thought it would as Boonville took the opening kick off and scored after running only three plays on a 36-yard run by senior Damario Walker with 10:52 left.
Although the Pirates would later miss the extra point attempt, they had clearly established themselves as the better of two teams while leading 6-0.
Or were they? The Hornets didn't seem to think so while taking their opening drive and marching it 59 yards for the score on eight plays when junior quarterback Joe Schlemeier hooked up with Josh King on a 23-yard scoring strike with 7:31 remaining to tie the game at 6-all. Fulton then did what Boonville couldn't do by splitting the uprights on the PAT to go up by a score of 7-6.
But even that was short-lived as Boonville came back on its third series of the ballgame and hit paydirt on a 10-play, 87-yard drive for the score after a 1-yard run by senior running back Kelsey Callaway to make it 12-7 with 53 seconds left in the first quarter. Meanwhile, to make up for the missed PAT, Brown elected to go for the two-point conversion. And like clockwork, Boonville hit paydirt when junior quarterback Jacob Francis found senior tight end Jay Barnhart all alone in the corner of the end zone to extend the lead to 14-7.
Needless to say the Hornets didn't go down without a fight, at least early on. On the ensuing kick off, Fulton hit paydirt again on a six-play, 70-yard drive when Schlemeier took the plunge from the 1 with 11:04 left in the half to cut the lead to one at 14-13.
That turned out to be Fulton's last hurrah in the ballgame until a meaningless touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Boonville, meanwhile, hit paydirt again before the half on a 12-play, 63-yard drive when Callaway hit paydirt for the second time in the game from the 1 to make it 21-13 with 5:10 left.
Senior kicker Bailey Pfeiffer also redeemed herself after missing the first PAT by nailing the extra point right down the middle to give the Pirates the lead by eight at the half.
Of course the second half was all Boonville, as they scored touchdowns on four out of five possessions to extend their lead at one point to 47-13.
After an interception by Walker at the Boonville 42, the Pirates took only three plays to get the ball in the end zone when Callaway cross the goal line from 4 yards out with 9:21 left to make it 27-13.
Then after a string of punts by both Boonville and Fulton, Walker brought the crowd to their feet once again on a punt return for a touchdown from 45 yards out to push the lead to 34-13 with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
Page 3 of 4 - The Pirates scored two more times in the fourth quarter, the first coming on a 32-yard run by Francis with 11:52 remaining in the game to extend the lead to 40-13. Meanwhile, after yet another punt by Fulton, Boonville hit paydirt for the seventh time in the game on a 11-yard run by sophomore Austin Henderson to go up 47-13.
With the JV team playing almost all of the fourth quarter, Fulton came back and added a touchdown late in the game on a 67-yard run by freshman running back Travis Dean with 2:22 left end the scoring.
While scoring 26 points in the second half, Brown said the players finally figured it out and started playing but now they need to put four quarters together.
Francis, who had a major hand in the victory for Boonville, said the Pirates did pretty good and converted when they needed to in the second half. "We just started off slow," Francis said. "We knew what we were in for in the second half and came out and played. I think at the beginning of the half we took them a little lightly but the second half we knew they were going to play so we came out and did our best."
Francis also complimented the players up front for his touchdown run. He said he got good blocking, the hole opened up and he hit it.
For the game, the Pirates finished with 17 first downs along with 402 yards rushing and another 82 passing for a total of 490.
As far as individual statistics, Francis led Boonville in rushing with six carries for 137 yards and one touchdown. Damario Walker had five carries for 82 yards and one touchdown while Kelsey Callaway added 17 carries for 79 yards and three touchdowns, Jared Oser with five carries for 55 yards, Brenden Meyer three carries for 29 yards, Dakota Meyer four for 16, Austin Henderson one for 11 and one touchdown and Gus Kemp one for 2 yards.
As for the passing game, Oser completed 5 of 7 passes for 77 yards while Francis was 1 of 3 for 5 yards and one two-point conversion.
Walker also had a big night on the receiving end with four catches for 49 yards while Tyler Peterson hauled in one pass for 28 yards and Jared Oser 1 for 5 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Jalen Poindexter had another double digit night with a total of 18 tackles. With 11 solo stops and seven assisted tackles, Poindexter also had seven tackles for losses and one sack.
Oser, meanwhile, finished the game with 11 total tackles with seven solo stops, four assisted tackles, four tackles for losses and four sacks. Tyler Peterson had six solo stops and three assisted tackles for a total of nine, followed by Jay Barnhart with four solo stops, three assisted tackles for a total of seven along with one tackle for a loss and 1.5 sacks, Jordan Bledsoe with four solo stops and three assisted tackles for a total of seven, Nolan Murray with three solos, two assisted, two tackles for losses and one sack, Brett Kenney with three solo stops and two assisted tackles, Dakota Meyer with three solo stops, Jordan Weaver with two solo stops and one assisted tackle, Jacob Francis, Damario Walker, Tanner Green and Kyle Cook each with one solo stop and one assisted tackle, Grady Kay with one solo stop and Gus Kemp with one assisted tackle.
Page 4 of 4 - Walker also had one interception for the game and now has three for the season.