Mohawks Punch Ticket to Playoffs Over Hoxie
The Piggott Mohawks punched their postseason ticket Friday night at Parker Field, beating the Hoxie Mustangs 48-0 by way of the mercy rule. In fact, the clock ran throughout the second half of play, as the Tribe jumped on the Mustangs early and often en route to the lopsided win.
"It felt good to get that monkey off our back and beat Hoxie," Mohawk Head Coach Michael Harrell said of the victory. "It's been like 21 years, back in 1995 since we beat Hoxie and man it felt good."
For the record, the Tribe beat the Mustangs 16-6 in week four of the 1995 campaign, behind a 182 yard rushing night by Mason Mack. Friday, it was senior Justin Goding who put on a show for the partisan crowd, racking up 152 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns in the rout. The Mohawk defense also flexed its muscle, holding the visitors to less than 130 total yards in the shut-out.
The victory comes on the heels of three straight one-point games, including the only two losses of the season, and served to put the Tribe back on track.
"I felt like we finally put it all together. We had a "Come to Jesus" meeting after those three straight one-point games," Harrell offered with a smile. "We just needed to get our swagger back and had to get our edge back. So, last week we went full-pads, contact practice for the first time since like late August and I think it really fixed things."
Also at issue in the recent contests were penalty flags, which resulted in 160 lost yards the past two games. Friday night proved to be much better.
"We cleaned up our penalties, we had two false starts and one block in the back that could of went either way--it really wasn't a big one," Harrell added. "But, we only had three penalties, and I was super glad we got that mess cleaned up.
John Jones scored the first Piggott touchdown, carrying it in from 10 yards out with 4:24 to go in the first quarter. Bret Fuller added the PAT, (4 for 6 on the day) and the Mohawks led 7-0. Cade Harrell added the second TD from 9 yards out early in the second, and this time Trey Gossett added the two point conversion on the QB keeper, extending the lead to 15-0.
Goding got his first TD from 54 yards out with 5:35 to go in the first half, and Fuller added the PAT to make it 22-0. The speedy senior scored his second just moments later, as he broke a 64 yard touchdown run. This time the PAT was no good, and the Mohawk lead was 28-0 with 3:15 to go in the second.
Just before the half Gossett scored on the QB keeper from the five, and the PAT by Fuller made it 35-0 at the intermission--prompting the mercy rule in the second half.
"Our rhythm was back on offense, we looked efficient and did a great job on defense," Harrell added. "Our defense is playing lights-out, and we did a really good job of mixing up our coverages against (Hoxie) Coach (Tom) Sears. Anyone who stays in the same defense when they play Hoxie, they'll pick you apart. In my opinion he's one of the best coaches in Northeast Arkansas and has one of the best staffs, and if you stay with the same defense those guys will just light you up."
With the game securely in hand the Tribe substituted freely in the second half, scoring again at the 4:50 mark of the third on a 17 yard run by sophomore Gunner Shaw from the 17. This time Fuller's PAT attempt was no good, and the Mohawks led 41-0.
The final score came early in the fourth quarter, as another speedy sophomore, Jacob Scott, broke a 37 yard romp to paydirt. Afterward, Fuller added the PAT and the final was set at 48-0.
Harrell had high praise for the defense, led by Jones with 15 tackles and Cade Harrell with 7. Hayden Lemmons also had an interception, returned for 38 yards, Nate Mallard recovered a fumble and Fuller sacked Hoxie quarterback Chandler Spradlin three times. Along they way the defensive backfield limited Spradlin to a 5 for 13 night for just 33 yards.
"Coach Rau and the secondary mixed it up all night, and did an excellent job, and gave them like five looks," Harrell added. "And, our front line just shut them down, we take away what other teams want to do, and all year our front seven have done a great job and I'm super proud of their effort."
Goding finished with 152 yards on 10 carries and two TDs, Cade Harrell had 61 on 8 carries and one touchdown, Shaw finished with 52 yards on 7 totes and a touchdown, Scott had 42 yards on 2 carries and a touchdown, Jones carried the ball 5 times for 31 yards and a touchdown and Mason Tillman carried the ball 3 times for 31 yards and a touchdown.
Total yardage went to the Tribe 401 to 129, as the Mustangs were led by Diamana Davis with 40 yards on 16 carries.
Up next for the Mohawks is the annual Rice Bowl contest with the Corning Bobcats, as they'll visit Parker Field Thursday evening for senior night. But, Harrell is not taking the winless Bobcats lightly, despite beating them the past three seasons in a row.
"This bunch of Corning kids won conference three years ago as freshmen, and they've got a lot of talent," he offered. "It's the same kids and I know most of them and they're hungry. By no means are we taking them lightly at all, we're preparing for them just like we would for Rivercrest."
Although he doesn't want to look too far down the road, Harrell also has the playoffs in the back of his mind, as the Mohawks have nailed-down the third place finish.
"Me and Coach Rau have talked about it a little, but first and foremost is to beat Corning, and then we'll see how things go as far as pulling starters and such," he explained. "First, beat Corning--then Friday morning we'll see if we go play Cedar Ridge or Harding Academy, or whoever, and start to prepare for them."
As the third seed from 3A-3 the Mohawks are likely to visit Harding Academy at Searcy in the first round of the playoffs, with the game set for Friday, Nov. 11.
Senior night festivities Thursday evening are set to begin at 6:30 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 7 at Parker Field.