Pirates fall in district playoffs against Blair Oaks, 54-14

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

They say you can tell a lot about a team in the first 12 minutes of the ballgame.

If that’s the case, the Pirates found out in a hurry that the top-seeded Blair Oaks Falcons are pretty darn good after giving up 34 points in one quarter and 40 at the half in a 54-14 loss.

While the Pirates closed out the season at 6-4 overall, Blair Oaks improved to 9-1 on the season. The Falcons will play No. 2 Centralia for the championship in the Class 3 District 4 Playoffs on Friday, Nov. 13 in Wardsville.

Centralia won 26-12 over Southern Boone in the other semifinal game in Macon.

Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough said not a lot of teams have had success against Blair Oaks-Boonville included.

“Our kids were ready and were about as focused as you could be and felt good, but Blair Oaks is well coached and tough to beat,” Hough said. “I told the kids that there has been a lot that went on this year that they may not understand it at this age, but there was a lot of other things that took place.”

The semifinals have also been tough for the Pirates the last two years. In the semifinals last year, Boonville fell to Odessa 55-7 and the Bulldogs went on to win the state title. This season, the Pirates lost to another No. 1 seeded team in Blair Oaks. 

Needless to say, the loss to the Falcons may be a little harder to swallow this time. Not only is Blair Oaks undefeated against Boonville in four games since the Pirates joined the Tri-County Conference-the only game being remotely close was last year’s battle in Boonville in  which the Falcons won 38-21.

Blair Oaks also won the first meeting in 2018 by a score of 31-0.

Of course it didn’t help that Boonville trailed Blair Oaks 40-0 with 10:34 in the first half or that the Falcons already had 443 yards in total offense after the first 24 minutes.

But that’s the hand Boonville was dealt with as Blair Oaks came out and scored on its first  five possessions. 

To make matters worse, the Falcons scored on their first-two plays of the game-the first coming on a 51 yard sprint to the end zone by sophomore quarterback Dylan Hair.

The second touchdown came as a result of an interception by senior Carson Prenger at the Falcons 34. On the very next play, Hair and Prenger hooked up on a 66 yard scoring strike to extend the lead to 13-0 two minutes into the game.

The momentum train continued to roll after that as Blair Oaks wasted little time putting the ball in the end zone again, scoring on a four play, 63 yard drive on a 50-yard pass from Hair to senior Jake Closser to make it 19-0 with 7:29 left in the opening quarter.

The Falcons then let their defense do the talking again by forcing a fumble on a quarterback sack at the Boonville 40.

Six plays later after moving the ball to the Pirates 16, Hair senior Levi Haney open for a touchdown to push the lead to 27-0.

Boonville finally crossed midfield into Blair Oaks territory at the 44 with 5:30 left in the first quarter. However, after moving the ball down to the 36, the Falcons held on fourth and seven.

Blair Oaks again wasted little time getting the ball in the end zone-five plays to be exact-when senior running back Jayden Purdy scored on a 4 yard run to make it 34-0. 

Blair Oaks would find the end zone two more times in the half to lead the Pirates 47-7.

The 40th point of the game came with 10:34 left on a 65 yard pass from Hair to Purdy to go up 40-0.

Boonville finally got a stop on Blair Oaks next possession when sophomore linebacker Max Eckerle intercepted a Hair pass at the Falcons 49. Twelve plays later after moving the ball down to the 1, sophomore quarterback Colby Caton followed his line into the end zone for the score to make it 40-7 with 3:43 remaining.

The Pirates then forced Blair Oaks to punt for the first time in the game from the Boonville 47. Then, after a three and out by Boonville, the Falcons hit paydirt for the seventh time in the game on a 44-yard run by Hair with 1:02 left to go up 47-7.

Blair Oaks finished the first half with 163 yards rushing and 280 passing for a total of 443. As for Boonville, they had just 74 yards rushing and 59 passing for a total of 133.

Hair also completed 11 of 19 passes in the game for the Falcons for 280 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Hair also led the team in rushing with six carries for 101 yards and one score.

Five different players finished with at least one catch in the first half for Blair Oaks.

For Boonville, senior running back Andrew Wiser had six carries for 63 yards. Caton, meanwhile, completed 7 of 16 passes for 59 yards and one pick. Junior DaWan Lomax had three catches for 34 yards.

With the ball to start the second half, the Pirates came out and moved the pigskin down field while taking almost six minutes off the clock. However, after picking up four first downs on the drive, Boonville turned the ball back over to Blair Oaks at their own 38. 

The Falcons then drove the ball 62 yards on five plays for the score when Hair found a seam in the middle of the field for the touchdown to extend the lead to 54-7 with 3:05 left in the third quarter.

The running clock was Blair Oaks best friend after that as the JV team closed out the game for the Falcons. 

Boonville would tack on another touchdown late in the game when Caton hit Wesolak down the sidelines on a 44 yard pass with 2:36 left to make it 54-14.

While finishing the game with 108 yards on 13 carries, Wiser said Blair Oaks is a team that knows how to play really well. 

“We knew we had to run hard against Blair Oaks because they are so good, but I couldn’t do it without the guys up front,” Wiser said. “I thought we got 10 times better once we changed things up in the middle of the season, and we just kept getting better. Even though I’m a senior, I feel like next year’s team is going to be a good one for them.”

For the game, Blair Oaks finished with 11 first downs along with 236 yards rushing and another 280 passing for a total of 516. Boonville, meanwhile, had 10 first downs along with 108 yards rushing and 108 yards passing for a total of 216.

Caton completed 11 of 23 passes for 108 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

D.J. Wesolak finished the game with three catches for 58 yards and one touchdown while Lomax had five catches for 33 yards and Charlie Bronakowski one catch for 6 yards.

On defense for the Pirates, Evan Gonzalez and Harper Stock each had eight tackles in the game. Lane West, Max Eckerle and Saylor Marquez each finished the game with three tackles while Jamesian McKee and DJ Wesolak added two tackles each and DaWan Lomax, Dakota Troost, Peyton Taylor and Andrew Wiser with one tackle apiece.

Troost and Stock also had one tackle for a loss in the game, while Eckerle finished the game with one interception. 

For Blair Oaks, Hair finished the game with 10 rushes for 164 yards and two scores while completing 11 of 19 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns.

The Falcons were 0 for 1 passing the ball in the second half.

Boonville senior running back Andrew Wiser was one of the few bright spots for the Pirates in a 54-14 loss against top-seeded Blair Oaks in the semifinal round of the Class 3 District 4 Playoffs Friday night in Wardsville. Wiser finished the game with 13 carries for 108 yards. The Pirates closed out the season at 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the Tri-County Conference.