Drop to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the conference
Just as the the Mexico Bulldogs let their guard down the week before, the Boonville Pirates football team may have suffered the same fate Friday night while hosting the Kirksville Tigers in NCMC action at Gene Reagan field.
Although the Tigers entered the game at 1-4 overall compared to 3-2 for Boonville, it mattered little to the Tigers on this night as Kirksville racked up over 400 yards in total offense en route to a 27-6 win.
The win improved Kirksville’s record to 2-4 overall 2-2 in the NCMC while Boonville fell to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the conference.
Boonville Pirates football coach Barry Blank said he was worried because everybody thought Kirksville was 1-4 and a bad football team. “They have players over there and they just decided they were going to lineup and pound it at us and be more physical than us and they did,” Blank said. “They’ve had that ability all year, it’s just whether or not we can get our kids to believe it and we really didn’t believe it for most of the game tonight.”
The Tigers were definitely believers Friday night. While scoring on their first two possessions of the game, Kirksville also set the tone early with a seven play, 80 yard drive for the touchdown on a 2-yard run by junior Colton Gillespie to make it 7-0 with 5:26 left.
Unfortunately for Boonville, they never got in any rhythm offensively while managing just one touchdown in 48 minutes.
But that’s just the kind of night the Pirates had while allowing Kirksville to score on its second possession as well at the 11:15 mark in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by senior John Bohon to extend the lead to 13-0.
As for the Pirates, they attempted a 49 yard field goal on their first possession, which fell just short by senior Thomas Simmons. Meanwhile, on their second series, Kirksville stopped Boonville on a fourth and three at the Tigers 30.
Blank said he doesn’t know why the Pirates were flat but it all starts at the top and it starts with him. “There was no reason to be flat,” Blank said. “We were at home and we were coming off a big win the week before, but these are 16 and 17-year-old kids and sometimes it’s hard for them to get up two weeks in a row.”
Needless to say the Pirates didn’t panic despite trailing by two scores against Kirksville. On their third possession of the ballgame, Boonville finally got it right when senior quarterback Kole Ficken hit a wide open Peyton Keeran on a 31-yard pass to cut the lead to 13-6 with 6:48 left.
However, after exchanging punts, Kirksville looked to have another touchdown after a 20 yard pass from sophomore quarterback Paxton Dempsay to Tanner Lain. This drive started at the Kirksville 41 with 2:22 left in the half. Meanwhile, after a holding call moved the ball back, the Tigers proceeded to move the ball again all the way to the Boonville 26 thanks to a pass interference call. Then, on a big gamble on fourth and 12, Dempsay hit Bohon in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to push the lead to 19-6 at the half.
The Tigers also dominated the first half stats with 108 yards rushing and another 171 passing for a total of 279. As for Boonville, they had only 33 yards rushing and 60 passing for a total of 93.
Dempsay also had a field day throwing the ball for Kirksville by completing 8 of 14 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown. Of course when Dempsay did throw, Bohon was the target of choice in the first half with six catches for 118 yards and one score.
In what had to be a picture perfect first half for the Tigers, the only drawback was the penalties as Kirksville drew nine flags for 85 yards.
The second half was pretty much a carbon copy of the first as Kirksville again set the tone and scored the only touchdown of the half in the third quarter on a 36-yard run by senior Blake Lewis with 4:24 left to extend the lead to 25-6. Then, to add salt to the wound, Dempsay found a wide open Braden Smith in the back of the end zone on the two-point conversion to make it 27-6.
The Pirates again struggled to get anything going in the second half with four punts and one interception. However to Boonville’s credit, they did recover a fumble when sophomore linebacker Josh Polk fell on the ball forced by Dylan Watson at the Pirates 32 with 11:27 left in the game.
Blank said the team just refused to finish drives and they refused to answer Kirksville’s physicalilty with more physicality. “We took a step back but we have to decide if we are going to wak up in the morning and if we are going to get better and we have to get ready for Fulton,” Blank said.
As for the totals for the game, Kirksville had 12 first downs along with 231 yards rushing and another 185 passing for a total of 416. Boonville, meanwhile, finished the game with 10 first downs along with 63 yards rushing and 95 passing for a total of 158.
Senior Ben Eichelberger was the leading rusher for Boonville with eight carries for 23 yards. Ficken, meanwhile, completed 5 of 10 passes for 60 yards. As for receiving yards, junior tight end Brandon Johnson had four catches for 51 yards.
As for tackles in the game, Eichelberger had seven solo stops and seven assisted tackles for a total of 14.
Johnson, meanwhile, finished the game with nine tackles and two tackles for losses. Landon Weaver had eight tackles and one tackle for a loss while Polk added seven tackles, one tackle for a loss and one fumble recovery, Peyton Keeran with six tackles, Tramell Coleman with five tackles, Adam Edler, Dylan Watson, Dalton Williams, Gabe Rumbaoa and Christian Kosnopfal each with two tackles and Carson Campbell, Kole Ficken, Nathan Platt, Samuel Wiser and Andrew Pefferman with one tackle each.
As for Kirksville Lewis finished the game with 14 carries for 142 yards and one touchdown. Dempsay completed 10 of 17 passes for 185 yards and one touchdown while Bohon finished the game with six catches for 118 yards and one score.