Either way you size up Friday night’s loss against the Higginsville Huskers, it’s pretty safe to say that the Boonville Pirates football team had its chances in the first half with the ball on or inside the 20-yard line twice.
While dominating the first-17 minutes of the ballgame, the Pirates had nothing to show for their efforts against the Huskers.
But then after turning the ball on downs on the Higginsville 21 with 6:49 left in the half, the Pirates watched the Huskers march the ball down the field on a 14-play drive for the score with 41 seconds left to go up 6-0.
The 9-yard pass Malcolm Elmore to Marcus Elmore all but threw away what was turning out to be a productive first half by Boonville. But then to make matters worse, the Huskers pulled another rabbit out of the hat on the PAT when junior quarterback Matt Gibson faked the kick and ran it in for the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 8-0.
Higginsville never trailed after that while adding another touchdown in the third quarter en route to a 15-0 victory.
The Pirates, 0-2 overall, will host the 1-1 Hannibal Pirates this coming Friday night at Gene Reagan Field at the BHS Sports Complex starting at 7 p.m. Hannibal, who also dropped its opening game of the 2013 season against Quincy Notre Dame, went on the road Friday night to beat Battle High School in Columbia 42-27.
Boonville Pirates football coach Devin Brown said there were too many mistakes, too many blown assignments and miscues against Higginsville.
“Overall, I thought we ran the ball a little bit better and completed the ball and made some plays here and there, so those were positives,” Brown said. “But we didn’t win the game. We have to make plays. We were inside the 20 twice and stalled out. We also got down to the four on fourth down and couldn’t punch it in. They made the touchdown on fourth and 11 in the first half and we didn’t and that was the difference.”
Actually there was more to the game than that. Although the Pirates gave up the touchdown late in the first half, they were still very much in the ballgame.
However after an eight play drive stalled out on the Boonville 46, the Pirates watched the Huskers march the ball down field on an eight-play drive. Except this time, Higginsville hit paydirt on a 7-yard run by junior Christian Turner with 4:14 left in the third quarter to make it 15-0.
The next-four possessions pretty much summed up the night for Boonville with a punt, interception, punt and turn over on downs. Of course the Huskers also struggled at times. Nonetheless, Higginsville coach Steve Cook was a little more apt to go to his bag of tricks while faking a PAT in the first half and then faking a punt for a long pass play deep in Boonville territory in the second half.
Page 2 of 2 - In all, the Pirates finished the second half with six possessions-three of which resulted in punts. Boonville also had one drive end on an interception and another possession go back to Higginsville on downs. As for the Huskers, they had one touchdown, two punts, one fumble and one turn over back on downs.
Despite the loss, the Pirates still managed nine first downs in the ballgame along with 101 yards rushing and 118 passing for a total of 219. As for Higginsville, they had nine first downs along with 136 yards rushing and another 90 passing for a total of 226.
The Huskers also shutout Boonville for the second year in a row. While beating the Pirates last year 20-0, Higginsville has now outscored Boonville 35-0 in two years.
For the season, the Pirates have been outscored 57-7 in eight quarters.
Needless to say, Boonville fared better offensively Friday night against Higginsville than the season opener against the state-ranked California Pintos. While managing only 115 yards in total offense in Week 1, the Pirates almost doubled their offensive output against Higginsville.
Senior Jacob Francis led the Pirates in both rushing and passing Friday night against the Huskers. While rushing 12 times for 31 yards, Francis also completed 15 of 24 passes for 118 yards with one interception.
Austin Henderson finished the game with four carries for 26 yards while Andreas Boykin added 10 carries for 23 yards, Ezra Perry with one carry for 10 yards, Brenden Meyer three carries for 9 yards and Jordan Weaver with one carry for 2 yards.
Junior Josh Judd led the Pirates in receiving yards with five catches for 48 yards. Tyler Peterson, meanwhile, finished the game with seven catches for 43 yards. Austin Hulbert had two catches for 16 yards while Austin Henderson added one catch for 11 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Pirates had three players finish the game with double-figure tackles. Jordan Weaver and Tyler Peterson each had 12 tackles-Weaver 8 solos, 4 assisted, 1 sack; Peterson 6 solos, 6 assisted.
Austin Henderson, meanwhile, finished the game with nine solo stops and two assisted tackles. Austin Hulbert added five solo stops and four assisted tackles for a total of nine, followed by Andrew Broyhill with four solo stops and one assisted tackle, Grady Kay three assisted tackles, one assisted and one fumble recovery, Jacob Francis with two solos and one assisted, Andreas Boykin with one solo and two assisted, Nolan Murray three assisted, Brenden Meyer with two solos and one fumble recovery, Nick Zeitlow and Brett Kenney each with two solo stops, Tim Price with one solo stop and one assisted tackle, Josh Judd with one solo stop and Ezra Perry with one assisted tackle.