The Mexico Bulldogs football team played the role of a spoiler Friday night in NCMC action at Boonville.
While entering the game ranked No. 9 in the state in Class 3, the Bulldogs were probably shell-shocked to say the least after playing the first half to a 0-0 tie. But then in the second half, Mexico took advantage of a couple of Boonville miscues while reeling off 28 unanswered points never to look back for a convincing 28-7 victory.
While the win improved Mexico’s record to 3-2 on the season, head coach Steve Haag said he thought his team needed to play with a little bit more emotion in the second half.
“We addressed that at halftime and made a few adjustments but the biggest thing I said is that we had to play with emotion,” Haag said. “It’s like I have been saying all week, if we don’t hurt ourselves and we take advantage of what they give us I think we do well. They had a fumble and we picked that up but we need to be able to finish those. But this was a great time. Anytime you can get a win it’s good. For some reason we are winning on the road and losing at home so we need to switch that around.”
To both coaches dismay the first half was like a dream gone bad as the Pirates punted the ball on three of four possessions. As for Mexico, they also struggled offensively in the first half with one fumble and one interception on five possessions.
While combining for a total of seven first downs in the first half, the Bulldogs out-gained Boonville 138-78.
Of course that all changed in the third quarter as the Bulldogs forced a three and out by Boonville and then marched the ball 58 yards on 10 plays for the score with 6:10 left. The 14-yard pass from quarterback Deion Wayman to Kellen Ekern put the Bulldogs up 7-0.
Things got considerably worse after that for Boonville as the Bulldogs came back and blocked a 41-yard field goal attempt with 1:45 left in the third. Eight plays later after moving the ball from their own 36, Wayman punched it in from the 1 to extend the lead to 14-0.
The Pirates turned it over one play after the kick off when Terrese Aaron ran it all the way back to the Boonville 7-yard line. Then, on the very next play, junior running back Michael White scored to make it 21-0 with 9:30 left in the game.
The ball continued to bounce the wrong way for the Pirates on the next possession. Except this time, Boonville had a high snap on the punt recovered by Wyatt Turner at the Pirates 25. Four plays later from the 10, White picked up his second touchdown of the ballgame to push the lead to 28-0 with 7:08 left.
The Pirates came back after that after the kick off with their best drive of the ballgame by moving the ball 79 yards on 10 plays for the score with 2:18 left. Boonville junior running back Ben Eichelberger hit paydirt for the Pirates from the 3 to cut the lead to 28-7.
The Bulldogs then ran three plays from their own 42 to end the game.
Boonville Pirates football coach Barry Blank said his team played well in the first half. “It just snowballed there for a little bit in the third quarter,” Blank said. “But these kids have some heart because we come down and score late and we do some things which shows the kids are not quitting. We really felt like we could compete with them and the other thing is we really felt like this could be a great springboard for us this week, but next week is another opportunity and we are going to play another great opponent and we have a chance to do some really good things.”
For the game, Mexico finished with 10 first downs along with 310 yards rushing and 14 yards passing for a total of 324. Boonville, meanwhile, had nine first downs along with 103 yards rushing and 74 passing for a total of 177.
Michael White led all rushers for the Bulldogs with 17 carries for 156 yards and two scores. Wayman, meanwhile, completed one pass to Ekern for 14 yards.
For Boonville, senior Keon Johnson had 17 carries for 70 yards while quarterback Nick Zeitlow completed 12 of 19 passes for 74 yards. Keon Johnson was also the leading receiver with seven catches for 36 yards.