Improve to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the Tri-County Conference

It was far from perfection as the Boonville Pirates football team defeated the Eldon Mustangs 34-21 in a battle of Tri-County Conference teams Friday night at Gene Reagan field.
But if you ask Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough, all wins are good at this point in the season.
“A win is a win,” Hough said. “You know the old saying, it’s never as good as what you think it is and it’s never as bad as what you think it is. But at the end of the day it’s a ‘W’. The game was very, very physical and we knew it was going to be physical, but like I said we executed when we had some opportunities and Eldon did a good job to take away some of our stuff, too.”
The good news is that Boonville still scored 34 points and racked up 384 yards in total offense to improve to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the Tri-County Conference. Eldon fell to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the TCC.
The win was also Boonville’s fourth in a row since the 31-0 loss to Blair Oaks in Week 3.
Boonville junior running back Avian Thomas, who followed up a 313 yard, six touchdown performance last week against Versailles with 18 carries for 207 yards and three scores against Eldon, said the team knows they can do better.
“They were a very physical team,” Thomas said of Eldon. “Our first half was great but the second half was not what we wanted even though we got the win. A win is a win and we are proud of it, but we know we can do way better than what we did in the second half.”
The first half may have saved the Pirates once again after scoring three touchdowns to lead Eldon 21-0 at the break. However in the second half, the tides turned as the Mustangs had Boonville back on its heels with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Eldon also outscored the Pirates 21-13 in the second half to make it a two touchdown ballgame.
While the game was a tale of two halves, Boonville pretty much owned Eldon in the first half by scoring on three of its first-four possessions. The Mustangs, meanwhile, struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half while punting the ball on five out of six possessions.
Of course the Pirates’ defense may have also had something to do with holding Eldon out of the end zone. The Mustangs didn’t cross mid-field until the 10:08 mark in the second quarter after an off-sides call put the ball at the Pirates 48.
As for Boonville, they wasted little time putting the ball in the end zone much like the last three games. After exchanging punts to open the game, the Pirates made good on its second possession when junior quarterback Nick Ferrari hit Tramell Coleman on a 73-yard scoring strike with 4:36 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0.
Boonville never trailed again in the ballgame, scoring two more times in the first half on a 41-yard run by Thomas to extend the lead to 14-0. The drive took only six plays and started from the Pirates own 25.
As for the third touchdown in the game, Ferrari and Coleman hooked up again with 4:53 left in the second quarter on a 19-yard pass in the back of the end zone to make it 21-0.
The Pirates also had 235 yards in total offense in the first half while holding Eldon to just 120 yards. Of course Coleman and Thomas accounted for 204 of those yards. Coleman finished the first half with three catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns while Thomas rushed for 91 yards on 10 carries and one score.
Boonville also had a great start to open the second half as Coleman took the opening kick off back 86 yards for the touchdown to push the lead to 27-0.
However after holding Eldon to only six plays on its first possessions, the Pirates had the unthinkable happen on their next series. After setting up for a punt at their own 25, the Mustangs broke through the line and blocked the kick by Jamesian McKee for a touchdown with 7:56 left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 27-6.
Luckily for Boonville, they still had over a three touchdown lead against the Mustangs. That went to four on the Pirates next possession when Thomas found the end zone again on a 65-yard run with 6:59 left in the third to go up 34-6.
Three turnovers later, two by the Pirates and one big-time hit by senior defensive end Brandon Johnson to force a fumble, the Mustangs found themselves in position to score again. Except this touchdown probably hurt a little more than the first one as Eldon drove the ball 67 yards on 10 plays for the score. The 25-yard pass from quarterback Collin Tamm to Logan Hall cut the lead to 34-13.
Boonville was also its own worst enemy at times in the second half. While the Pirates had a touchdown called back in the first half, they also had three turnovers in the second half with the punt block, interception and fumble.
Hough said that’s where he feels like the team is lacking in some areas. “Too many mental mistakes,” Hough said. “Sometimes I feel like we are trying to put a square nail into a round hole, or something like that. It’s a battle for 48 minutes but our kids have to face that adversity better.”
As for the Mustangs, they got better as the game went on by hitting paydirt again with 34 seconds left on a 6-yard pass from Tamm to Hall. Eldon also scored on the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 34-21.
Boonville junior linebacker Josh Polk, who had 12 tackles on the night, said he felt like the team as a whole may have let down a little bit in the second half.
“I felt like as the game wore on we kind of mentally got tired and we had some players go out,” Polk said. “I just felt like we could have done a little bit better staying focused during the game and not relaxing. I think we felt we were unstoppable there for a second and they kind of kept rallying and was able to punch it in a few times.”
For the game, the Pirates finished with 10 first downs along with 279 yards rushing and 105 passing for a total of 384. Eldon, meanwhile, had 14 first downs along with 197 yards rushing and 110 passing for a total of 307.
As far as individual stats, Ferrari completed 6 of 13 passes-all to Coleman-for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Ferrari also had 36 yards rushing the ball while Landon Weaver had seven carries for 27 yards.
On defense for the Pirates, sophomore linebacker Lane West finished the game with 11 solo stops and four assisted tackles for a total of 15. He also had three tackles for losses, one sack, one caused fumble and one fumble recovery.
Weaver finished the game with 13 total tackles along with one tackle for a loss while Polk had 12 tackles, Dylan Watson with eight, Tramell Coleman and Peyton Keeran each with five, Carson Campbell and Brandon Johnson each with four, Russell Potter, Dalton Williams and Alan McCarter with three tackles each, Trae Williams, Harper Stock and Andrew Wiser with two tackles each and Malik Brazil, James Dorman, Nash McKenzie, Greyson Mesik and Andrew Pefferman with one tackle apiece.
Potter, Weaver, Johnson and Watson also had one tackle for a loss while Potter was credited with one sack.
For Eldon, Isaiah Parsons had 25 carries for 111 yards while Logan Hall rushed for 85 yards on 17 carries. Tamm, meanwhile, completed 8 of 19 passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Hall also had three catches for 82 yards.