Mohawks Drop Conference Game to Hoxie

Thursday, November 6, 2014
Piggott's Bradley Smith battles for yardage in the Tribe's loss to Hoxie. Also pictured for the Mohawks are Justin Goding (44) and Cody Crittenden (22).

Mohawks fall to Hoxie

BY TIM BLAIR

Times-Democrat Sports Staff

The injury-riddled Piggott Mohawks hosted the Hoxie Mustangs Friday night at Parker Field, and the talented team from Lawrence County lived up to all expectations as they dropped a 56-14 conference loss on the Tribe. But, despite the loss and a Corning win over Manila, the Mohawks can still advance into the state playoff bracket if they can beat the Bobcats by at least 13 points this Thursday in the regular season finale at Parker Field.

"Hoxie is the real deal, they've got an honest and legitimate chance to compete for a state championship," Coach Michael Harrell said of the Mustangs. "I think they'll at least go three rounds deep for they really get challenged."

Riding the talented arm of quarterback Cole Sears, who connected on 9 of 13 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns the Hoxie squad was a force to be reckoned with on the night. Combined with the play calling of his father, Head Coach Tom Sears, the Mustangs controlled the game from the opening whistle en route to the win.

"Coach Sears is also the real deal, and what you're seeing here is a man with a vision," Harrell noted. "When he took over Hoxie they were a doormat, back in the late 90's, they had been a doormat for year. But, he took over and stuck with his process and it has been a 15 year process. But, what you're seeing right now is that process at its peak."

Harrell also had high praise for the talented signal caller, and the Hoxie program. "His son is one of the best quarterbacks in Northeast Arkansas, if not the state, and I have nothing but respect for Coach Tom Sears and that program. He's really done a lot for me as a first year coach, I call him a lot, confide in him and he's really been good to me."

As for the Tribe, despite moving members of the talented junior high team up to the senior roster the team continued to deal with injury issues, most recently to senior J.P. Vavak. "JP took a bad shot to the head, and I'm afraid he's done for the year. That means five or six of the linemen that we started with in August are out. At one point Friday night against Hoxie we had four freshmen on our offensive line." Harrell noted it was the inconsistency caused by the injuries which hampered the team's efforts throughout the season, although he does see a bright future on the horizon.

"I like the team we're putting up against Corning, and I like the team we had when we faced Hoxie. I think they could have beat Manila offensively, I think we'd have done a better job moving the ball," he explained. "So I'm looking forward to the Corning game this week. When it's Corning you can throw everything out the window, It's going to be a dogfight and I'm looking forward to it--I'm excited, I've got those little nervous butterflies for Corning week."

The lone bright spot Friday night for the Mohawks was the performance turned in by speedy senior running back Nick McKinnie, who broke long runs for both Piggott touchdowns. McKinnie also added the two point conversion, accounting for all the Tribe's scoring. On the night McKinnie finished with 136 yards on 6 carries, and accounted for much of the Mohawk's 223 yards in total offense. Meanwhile, the Mustangs had 495 yards in total offense and were led by Gunner Cook in rushing with 16 carries for 134 yards.

On the defensive side the Tribe was led in tackles by Trace Stallings with 5, and Garrett Cook had a fumble recovery.

As for this Thursday, the Mohawks and the Bobcats will square-off with the Rice Bowl on the line and a chance to advance to the playoffs. "It's going to be fun, Coach Spears is a great guy and another guy I talk to probably once a day. A great guy to talk to, confide in and get advice from and he's got a good program over there," Harrell explained. "I've gotta say I like them, I root for Corning any time we're not playing them. I respect that program--I have a ton of respect for that program. So, it's fun to play them and it's fun to beat them."

Pregame festivities will be held at 6 p.m. with kickoff set for 7:00. at Parker Field as the Mohawks will be marking senior night for the class of 2015.

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