Mohawks fall to Blazers
For the coaching staff of the Piggott Mohawks Friday night's loss at Valley View was a true mixed bag of good and bad. On the good side, the Tribe came out and dominated most of the first half and in the early going ran out to a 10-0 score. On the flip side, the Mohawks youthful inexperience was also evident as simple mistakes killed a number of drives. In the end, the speed and athleticism of the Blazers guided them to a 40-13 non-conference season opener over the Piggott squad.
On a perfect Friday night for football, the Mohawk's Alek Samples took the opening kickoff of the 2009 season and returned it to the 29 yard line. The Piggott offense, under the direction of junior QB Jon Perkins then marched downfield in workman-like manner with several sparkling runs from backs Samples, Corbin Chase, Spencer Coomer and Luke Yount. The drive ended on an 18 yard touchdown run by junior RB Chase, the Mohawks tacked-on the PAT and the score stood at 7-0.
On the following kickoff the Blazer's Jordan Howard lost the handle and the ball was recovered by Jarred McKinnie of the Mohawks deep in Valley View territory. But that drive sputtered deep in Blazer territory and ended with Chase kicking a 14 yard field goal to make it 10-0.
Once the Blazers got the ball back they began to find their groove, and on a fourth down and 12 from the Mohawk 20 yard line quarterback Taylor Lindley found Howard for the first Valley View touchdown. Kicker John Gay then added the PAT and the score stood at 10-7 in favor of the Tribe.
A short time later, as the first quarter progressed, the Blazers got the ball back and Gay tied the game with a 32 yard field goal.
In the second quarter both teams settled down, and the Blazer defense began to slow down the Mohawk running attack. But the quarter also featured a 67 yard break-away by Samples, as he was chased down from behind by a Blazer defender. That led to another Chase field goal, as the Mohawks made it a 10-10 ballgame.
The Tribe would also score another field goal in the first half, as Chase chipped on in from 26 yards late in the second quarter.
But the explosive Blazers responded with a 57 yard drive that took just four plays, and less than 20 seconds, as Lindley hit Daniel Martin with a 28 yard touchdown pass to break the deadlock. Gay added the PAT and the home team took a 17-13 lead into the locker room at the halftime break.
Sadly, for Mohawk fans the second half was pretty much all Blazers as they scored four times in the third quarter of play. Those plays included a 56 yard run by Lindley early in the second half, a seven yard pass from Lindley to Daniel Jarchow, a safety on the Mohawk offense and a five yard run by Kyle Biggers with 1:45 to go in the quarter.
For the young Mohawks the mistakes were costly, including three fumbles and a botched punt attempt. The Tribe was also stuck deep in their own territory on one possession when Samples slid down trying to field the Blazer kickoff. But on the positive side, the squad showed great potential on both sides of the football against the 4A team. The Mohawks got good performances from their committee of running backs, and their line, and the defensive backs got some much needed experience against the talented Blazers. Yount also picked off a Lindley pass to end a Blazer drive in the second half of play.
"We played our tails off, I'm not gonna lie to you we played our tails off and for a half we were even," Mohawk head coach Dave Hendrix noted after the game. "It was 17-13 at the half after they got that late touchdown, hey we gave them all we had. You know what, we got beat..they're a better football team than we are and sometimes there's not anything you can do about that..but our kids definitely played their tails off and I have nothing bad to say about them as far as that goes."
Hendrix added that the athleticism and speed of the Blazers became the difference in the game, "they put us in situations to take advantage of their speed, and that's the bottom line, they're faster than us..but they're also well-prepared and their coaches did a good job of putting them in that situation."
When asked to single-out a performance Hendrix noted, "all my kids played hard, they always do...they come from good Mama's and Daddies and I can't say enough good things about them..they always play hard."
Checking game stats, the Mohawks racked-up 285 yards rushing with Samples pacing the effort with 147 yards on 14 carries. Meanwhile, Chase finished with 48 yards on 11 carries, Zach Trammell had 36 yards on three carries, Coomer finished with 29 yards on seven carries, Yount had 22 yards on six runs, Zach Redmon had 6 carries for 6 yards, McKinnie had one carry for two yards and Perkins carried the ball twice but lost three yards net. Lindley was the top rusher for the Blazers with 85 yards on four carries.
Perkins had 10 yards passing as he completed two of four attempts, with Coomer catching a pass for eight yards and Samples catching another for two yards. Lindley was nine of 24 for 174 yards for Valley View. Total offense was much closer than the final score, with the Blazers netting 382 yards to 285 for the Tribe. The Blazers were flagged for a total of 76 penalty yards on 11 infractions, while the Mohawks were bitten by the penalty flag six times for 45 yards.
Friday night the Mohawks will open their home schedule with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Parker Field as the Caruthersville Tigers come to town. Last year the Mohawks took the contest at Caruthersville, a game in which the Tigers were without their star running back. This will be Caruthersville's third game of the season, as they pounded St. Vincent's Aug. 28 by a final of 43-14, and this past Saturday they downed the Kennett Indians at home 16-14.