Mohawk Collar Bulldogs
The Piggott Mohawks sent a clear message to future opponents Friday night at Portageville, throttling the Bulldogs 66-8. The Tribe scored early and often in the romp, dominating both sides of the football. Junior Gunner Shaw turned in an outstanding contest for the Mohawks, rushing for 153 yards on seven carries and scoring three touchdowns in the process. At the defensive back position, he effectively shut-down the Bulldog's leading receiver as the Piggott defense flexed its muscles.
With a large crowd on hand the Mohawks (1-0) kicked-off to the Bulldogs (0-3) to begin the contest. Setting the trend early, the Tribe stifled the Portageville offense and forced the first of nine punts on the night. Setting up shop on their own 46, the Mohawks wasted little time scoring, although they did commit the first of several false-start penalties. Despite that, Shaw scored the first of his TDs moments later with a 46 yard run. Senior John Jones (75 yards on 10 carries/ one TD) added the two point conversion and the Tribe led 8-0.
Jones then kicked-off to the Bulldogs, as they took over on their own 43 yard line.
Forced to punt once again, the Portageville squad got one of only a few breaks on the night as the Tribe coughed-up the ball moments later on the 17. Backed-up yet again they would punt the ball away once again, giving the Tribe possession on the Bulldog 43.
A few plays later, despite more penalty flags, Jones broke an 18 yard touchdown run to make it 14-0, although the two-point conversion attempt was no good.
Following the ensuing kick-off, the Bulldogs took over at their own 27 and continued to lose ground. Again forced to punt, the ball was shanked and spotted at the Portageville 35. Driving deep into Bulldog territory the Mohawks turned the ball over yet again, this time on downs, at the one yard line.
As the first quarter drew to a close the 'Dogs were forced to punt from deep in their own territory, giving the Mohawks good field position at the Portageville 42.
This set up Shaw's second touchdown, as he carried it 40 yards to paydirt just moments later. And, once again Jones provided the two point conversion as the score moved to 22-0.
Midway through the second quarter the Bulldogs would finally break the goose egg on the scoreboard, with the touchdown set up on a long pass from Torrey to Hunter Gates (six catches 75 yards). Two plays later Torrey ran the ball in from two yards out for the score, then hit Connor Barham with a pass completion for the two point conversion.
On the following possession the Mohawks put together another strong drive, topped with a Cade Harrell (104 yards on seven carries and two TDs) 13 yard touchdown run. And, once again his backfield-mate Jones provided the two point conversion to move the score to 30-8 with just under four minutes to go in the first half.
The next Portageville possession also resulted in a punt, and once again Harrell broke a touchdown run—this time a 25 yard romp. But, the conversion attempt was no good this time, as the score moved to 36-8.
Late in the first half the Mohawk defense continued to show its strength, notching an interception by Quentin Reeves to end another Bulldog threat.
Following intermission the Mohawks took the second half kickoff and continued to dominate, scoring from 35 yards out on Shaw's third touchdown run to make it 42-8. And, once again the two point conversion attempt failed as the score stood.
With the clock running by way of the mercy rule, the Mohawks would continue to hold the 'Dogs at bey throughout the remainder of the contest. Midway through the third the Tribe would score again, this time on a 46 yard interception return by Hayden Lemmons. Getting the nod for the two point conversion this time was fullback Lane Buchannon (151 yards on 12 carries and one TD), who delivered to make it 50-8.
Driving again late in the quarter the Mohawk subs would get their chance, as Reagan Mayberry scored from one yard out, and Jacob Scott added the two point conversion to make it 58-8.
On the following kickoff it appeared that Jones went for the on-side kick leading Coach Michael Harrell to note, “I would not do that with the score 58-8, it slipped off his foot.”
Despite the break, the Bulldogs once again punted the ball away setting up the Tribe's final score. It came as fullback Buchannon broke a 69 yard touchdown gallop early in the fourth quarter. On the conversion Harrell once again called Scott's number, and he delivered to set the final score at 66-8.
Although he was pleased with the overall performance, Coach Harrell noted the mistakes concern him the most.
“We had 11 penalties, nine false start penalties—offsides, and that's strictly discipline and focus. So we're going to have to get that cleaned up in practice,” he explained. “You don't beat the good teams like that. We had three turnovers and lost one of them, we can't beat Rivercrest and Osceola playing like that so we need to hang on to the ball.”
The Tribe finished with 621 yards on the ground, racking up 708 all-purpose yards in the win. Meanwhile, they held the Bulldogs to just six yards rushing and 90 yards passing on the night. Thanks to the number of Piggott kickoffs, the Portageville squad amassed 107 yards in kick off returns.
“Our defense delivered one of the better performances I've ever seen, as a Piggott Mohawk fan or coach. We held them to around 90 yards in total offense, and 61 of those came on one play. Gunner had really good coverage on that, he just needed safety help and the safety didn't get there in time,” Harrell said. He also applauded the defensive line play, anchored by senior Nate Mallard with seven tackles.
“I loved the way our front four played, and got defensive pressure on them all night. Ian Torrey is an All-State quarterback, and getting looks for SEC schools,” he added. “And I thought Gunner Shaw had a heck of a game shutting down their wide receiver Hunter Gates. I think Torrey passed 28 times and on 22 of those he targeted Gates so Gunner had an excellent night.”
Linebackers Harrell and Jones led the team with eight tackles each, while Shaw finished with six and Buchannon had five.
For Harrell, who is currently forced to contend with the loss of defensive coordinator Walter Rau, the secondary play is welcome. Rau, a member of the Arkansas Army National Guard, was deployed to help with hurricane response following the Hazen game and is not expected to return for two more weeks.
“Coming into the season we knew we had a good front seven, we knew we'd be pretty solid, but the question mark was our secondary,” Harrell explained. “And, I feel like our secondary answered the call the other night against Portageville's spread. I figure we'll see a lot of spread out of Rector this week, and we know we'll see it out of Osceola, and now we feel like we're prepared for it and we look forward to the challenge we have this week with the Rector Cougars.”
Up next for the Mohawks is the annual showdown with Rector, this time at Temerian Field.
“This week we're just preparing for Rector, and we're preparing for them just like they were the Prescott Curleywolves,” Coach Harrell said of the week of practice. “And, we're getting down to business fixing those little things. Know the snap count, know the blocking assignment and don't jump offsides.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Rector as the Cougars host the Mohawks in the final non-conference game of the season.