Junior Mohawks Are County Champs
The Piggott Junior Mohawk football team earned the mythical county championship Thursday night, beating the Corning Bobkittens 20-14 at Parker Field. But, the contest was anything but easy for the Piggott squad—as the score implies, as the Tribe was forced to battle from behind late in the game to gain the conference victory.
“Corning is very much improved, Coach (Joey) Moseley has done a good job over there,” Mohawk Head Football Coach Michael Harrell said afterward, “To me, I felt like that was one of the better-disciplined Corning teams we've seen in a long time. The kids played really hard, and I think the difference in that game is that our kids think they're supposed to win and Corning is still trying to overcome that. The mentality part.”
The Bobcats got first shot Thursday night, moving the ball efficiently downfield against the Piggott defense. The drive was ended on a strong hit by freshman Michael Parker, as he knocked the ball loose from Clayton Kemp deep in Mohawk territory and into the hands of Piggott's Ethan Ralph.
The following drive by the Mohawks was also ended on a fumble, as they also turned it over deep in their opponent's territory. This turnover also led to the first Bobcat score, which came on a 65 yard run by quarterback Jake Gonzales. The two-point conversion attempt was also good, as Gonzales hit Clayton Crosby, and Corning took an 8-0 lead with less than 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
In the following drive the Mohawks moved the ball downfield, getting a long run from Trent Stevens in the process. This set up the first Piggott score, as Parker carried it in from nine yards out with 5:55 to go in the first half. Logan Ralph then added the two-point conversion, as the score stood knotted at 8-8.
Moments later the Bobcats would answer with another score, as Gary Comstock carried it 22 yards to paydirt. This time the Mohawk defense stopped the two point conversion attempt, and the Corning lead stood at 14-8 with 4:32 to go in the second quarter.
The remainder of the first half proved to be a defensive affair, as neither team could find the endzone.
“There were a few balls that hit the ground a few fumbles, but I felt the effort on both sides of the football was great--both Piggott and Corning, was great,” Harrell said of the match-up. “It was a heck of a football game to watch.”
Trailing by six, the Tribe moved the football much better in the third quarter, scoring on a four yard run by Logan Ralph at the 5:47 mark. But, once again the two-point conversion attempt was no good as the score stood tied at 14-14.
The score remained tied throughout the third, and much of the fourth quarter, before Logan Ralph broke a 21 yard touchdown run to give the home team a 20-14 lead. But, for the third time in a row the two point conversion attempt was no good, as the Mohawks maintained a touchdown lead.
Late in the contest the Tribe defense showed its strength, anchored by Kyson Conley at nose guard.
Posting several strong downs, including a big fourth down stand late in the contest, they preserved the lead and the win.
For Coach Harrell, there were rough spots in the narrow victory, but a win is still a win.
“That arm-tackling is something we have to get cleaned up, we did that some, but I'm just glad to get the win,” he observed. “I knew it was going to be a pretty good ballgame, I watched them play Brookland last week and they put a few touchdowns up on them—and they're a good football team.”
The Tribe notched the conference win despite being edged in total offense, 248 to 209 yards.
On the night the Mohawks had all their yards on the ground, paced by 88 yards on 13 carries by Parker; 64 yards on seven carries by Logan Ralph; 40 yards on eight carries by Trent Stevens; 15 yards on five carries by Tanner Dixon and two yards on one carry by quarterback Brandon Seal, as he picked up a key fourth down. Comstock led Corning with 96 yards on 15 carries while Gonzales carried the ball 10 times for 61 yards, and was four for seven passing for 72 yards, and Crosby had 19 yards on six carries.
“I was glad we came away with the win, and we're healthy,” Harrell concluded. “We just need to learn from our mistakes and keep getting better every day.”
This week offers a sizeable challenge, as the Mohawks will be on the road Thursday night at Osceola to take on the Seminoles. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Mohawk seventh grade team also got a win Thursday night, as they beat the visiting Corning squad 14-0 behind Joe Carpenter's two touchdown performance.