Pirate improve to 2-2 overall
Two days before the biggest game of his career, Boonville sophomore running back Avian Thomas told head coach Barry Blank he was going to rush for 200 yards.
Although Thomas had only 79 yards rushing at the half on 20 carries, he more than made up for it in the second half with touchdown runs of 46 and 15 yards to lead the Pirates past the Father Tolton Blazers 27-17.
“I rank this my best game of the year but there is more to come I promise you that,” Thomas said. “I thought the line started getting it together and I started reading the holes better and we started getting better as a team and it came faster and faster to us.”
For the record, Thomas finished the game with 34 carries for 200 yards and three touchdowns.
Boonville improved to 2-2 on the season with the win while Father Tolton fell to 1-3 on the season.
Boonville Pirates football coach Barry Blank said its nice being back at .500 because it hasn’t happened too often the last three years but next week is a new week and Mexico is going to be tough.”
Of course neither team wanted much to do with the end zone in the first half while combining for a total of 11 points.
The only difference in the first half was a 6-yard run touchdown run by Thomas with 3:20 left in the first quarter to put the Pirates up 6-0. Boonville also caught a break on the PAT when Thomas turned a bad snap into a two-point conversion by hitting junior tight end Brandon Johnson to extend the lead to 8-0.
The Blazers came right back on the ensuing kick off by marching the ball to the Boonville 7-yard line on seven plays but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by junior kicker Harrison McCrary to make it 8-3.
The Pirates committed what was turning out to be a costly mistake after that by fumbling the ball at their own 42. Nine plays later after moving the ball to the Boonville 1/2 yard line, the Blazers coughed up the football when sophomore Tramell Coleman recovered his second fumble at the 1.
Blank said that fumble recovery was huge because the Pirates were able to drive it out of there. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to finish with points but just getting it out of there and getting a punt from Kole Ficken afterwards because it changed field position at that moment. But it gave us a little boost. It was a big momentum change for us.”
Father Tolton coach Chad Masters said anytime you have opportunities like that that happens. “I mean that affects the flow of the game and confidence and everything else, especially on the road,” Masters said. “That will kill you. We had a lot of self-inflicted damage in that first half and I think with a couple of turnovers and we had a few mental mistakes too. Against good teams on the road that’s going to get you. We were fighting an uphill battle after that. We punch that in and score it could be a different ballgame but hats off to Coach Blank and the Boonville Pirates. They made it difficult on us tonight. They won the game and they did a good job.”
Despite trailing 8-3 at the half, the Blazers out-gained Boonville 145-115 in the first half. However the two turnovers by Father Tolton were huge.
The second half was also big for Boonville, especially in the third quarter when senior quarterback Kole Ficken took the plunge from the 1 to cap off a nine-play, 65-yard drive with 8:56 left to extend the lead to 14-3.
The Pirates never looked back after that with Thomas scoring his second touchdown of the ballgame on a 46-yard run with 7:16 left to make it 20-3. Then, after a three and out by Father Tolton, Thomas hit paydirt for a third time on a 15-yard run to push the lead to 27-3.
The Blazers added two late touchdowns after that with junior quarterback Robert Hunter hitting junior Jared Thompson in the back of the end zone on a 20-yard scoring strike with 3:47 left to cut the lead to 27-10.
Father Tolton tacked on another touchdown after forcing Boonville to turn the ball over on downs by driving 73 yards on nine plays for the score on a 12 yard pass from Hunter to senior receiver Nick Beckett with 19 seconds left to make it 27-17.
Boonville finished the game with 14 first downs along with 270 yards rushing and 66 passing for a total of 336. Father Tolton, meanwhile, finished the game with 12 first downs along with 80 yards rushing and 230 passing for a total of 310.
Junior quarterback Malik Brazil completed 3 of 4 passes in the game for 66 yards. Adam Edler was the leading receiver with one catch for 28 yards while Kole Ficken had one catch for 21 yards and Ben Eichelberger one catch for 17 yards.
For Father Tolton, junior Ben Breitwiser finished the game with nine carries for 74 yards. Hunter, meanwhile, completed 25 of 41 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Beckett was the leading receiver for the Blazers with five catches for 90 yards and one score while Jevean Brown had four catches for 49 yards and Jared Thompson four catches for 46 yards and one touchdown.
On defense for the Pirates, Ben Eichelberger had six solo stops and three assisted tackles for a total of nine.
Brandon Johnson finished the game with eight total tackles, followed by Josh Polk with seven, Carson Campbell and Landon Weaver each with six, Tramell Coleman with five, Adam Edler and Dylan Watson each with three, Elijah Pinkett and Ben Horst with two each and Kole Ficken, Jaylen Butner, Dalton Williams, Gabe Rumbaoa and Avian Thomas with one tackle apiece.
Coleman also had two fumble recoveries while Johnson forced two fumbles. Watson had one forced fumble.