Tribe Drops Homecoming Contest

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Lane Buchanan (34) lead-blocks for John Jones (33) in action Friday night against Osceola. Also pictured for the Tribe is quarterback Trey Gossett (15).
TD photo/Frank Staples

The Piggott Mohawks hosted the Osceola Seminoles for homecoming Friday night at Parker Field. Playing in front of one of the largest crowd's in school history, the two teams slugged it out in a classic 3A-3 showdown with the visitors coming out on top of a 26-0 decision.

For Mohawk Head Coach Michael Harrell, the performance by Osceola was no surprise.

“When they hired Coach (Bob) Hooks back in January we knew it was a good hire for them. Osceola has been a sleeping giant for sometime now, and that giant has awakened.”

The Seminoles were coming off a tough non-conference schedule, which saw them compete with the likes of Blytheville, Pocahontas and Gosnell. As for the Mohawks, they hadn't been challenged in the early season games as they were coming off the 70-0 dismantling of the Rector Cougars.

“They're not the same football team they've been the last several years and it showed Friday night,” Harrell said of the team the Tribe had beaten the last two season. “They were very physical, and their kids didn't lay down and quit like they have in the past. And they just came out and took it to us.”

The Seminoles got the ball first, but couldn't capitalize as they fumbled on the Piggott three yard line. The Tribe then put together a good drive, but killed it as they fumbled it back to Osceola on their own 39. This led to the first score of the contest, which came on a one yard run by Derrell Brown, Jr., with 2:19 to go in the first, althought the PAT was no good.

The Mohawks set up shop on their own 17 to begin the next drive, but turned it over on downs on the moments later. This led to the Seminoles second touchdown, which came on a 73 yard sweep by Taylen Gavin. This time the PAT was good, as the score moved to 13-0.

The following drive also ended with the Mohawks turning the ball over on downs, as the Tribe continued to have trouble moving the football.

But, the Mohawk defense ended the threat as Hayden Lemmons picked-off quarterback D.J. Flie late in the first half.

The second half began much the same, as the Mohawks took the kickoff at the 30. But, moments later they stalled at the 45, and again turned the ball over on downs.

This time the Tribe defense rose to the occasion, and the Seminoles turned the ball back over on downs.

Taking over at their own 18, the drive was short lived, as the Mohawks fumbled it back to the visitors just moments later. But, the Seminoles were also bitten by the turnover bug again, as Flie was picked-off for the second time by Lemmons.

Although they burned up several minutes on the ensuing drive, the Mohawks were still unable to move the football and punted. This led to the third Osceola touchdown, as Robert White broke-off a 63 yard touchdown run at the 4:43 mark of the third. Once again the PAT was good, and the score moved to 20-0.

The next Mohawk drive also ended as they turned it over on downs, as the Seminoles got the ball back with less than a minute to go in the third. This led to their final touchdown of the evening as Flie hit Brown on a 17 yard touchdown catch and run, although the two point conversion attempt was no good as the final score was set.

Both teams would get one more shot at scoring, although neither was able to find the endzone as the fourth quarter progressed.

“It was a good ballgame, we didn't really play that bad—especially defensively,” Harrell said afterward. “I thought our defense really played well considering the talent we were seeing and the matchups we were seeing in the spread. They throw good, the quarterback's good, they run the jet sweep good and they've got speed.”

Looking back on the loss, he notes there were several keys.

“Football is about blocking and tackling and we missed a few tackles on defense and it burned us,” he added. “Offensively we moved the ball and did what we wanted to do we just didn't finish it off for points. We got the first downs we wanted, and we controlled the clock, but we just didn't get into the end zone.”

Coach Harrell also pointed to the long first drive, which ended with a fumble, as a momentum changer.

“There were several plays during the game, several third downs,” he offered. “Like the one where Nate (Mallard) got his hand on the ball and it comes right down in their kid's hand and he runs for a first down. There was another time when Hayden (Lemmons) swatted the ball down and his hand came down and hit their kid on top of the head and they called him for hands to the head. Again, on a third down and on the next play they hit the jet sweep and score.”

He also observed that the team will find a way to benefit from the experience.

“Sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes you don't. They're a heck of a football team and we're a heck of a football team, but it wasn't a 26-0 ballgame,” he added. “I felt like it should have been more like a 16-14 game that could have went either way.”

John Jones led the Tribe in rushing with 75 yards on 15 carries; Cade Harrell had 46 on 11; Gunner Shaw and Lane Buchanan each rushed for 32 yards; Trey Gossett had nine carries for 28 yards; Lemmons had three for 17 and Mason Tillman had one carry for three yards in the loss. Gavin led the Seminoles with 100 yards on four carries.

Flie completed seven of 18 for 107 yards while Gossett was one for two passing for four yards for the Tribe. Total yardage went to the Seminoles 326 to 237.

“We're gonna' get a lot better from this. It's like Coach (Don) Campbell has taught us, whatever they do is wrong and we just have to adjust to it,” Harrell added. “If they want to send the house that's fine, that's what we want them to do, but we're just going to have to pick up the blocking scheme. We've gotta get our eyes up, the boys need to communicate on making the right call on the blocking scheme.”

In evaluating the performance, Harrell points to the difference in the talent the two teams faced in the first three weeks of the season.

“The non-conference schedule showed, where they had played two 4A and one 5A schools and we played three 2A schools, but I'm gonna' get that fixed for next year for this football program,” he offered. “For us to compete at the level we want to in our conference I have to get our non-conference games picked-up.”

This week the Tribe will again face a formidable Delta team they beat last year, as the Rivercrest Colts visit Parker Field.

“They're Rivercrest, same as they have been for 30 years. They're gonna' run the 5-2 on defense and they've got athletes all over the field. They've got some kids out this year that weren't last year, and some that moved back into the district,” he said of the Colts. “They're better than they were last year, they swarm really good on defense. But, talk about matchups--we matchup better with them than we did with Osceola.”

On defense, the Mohawks were led in tackles by Jones and Harrell with 15 each while Mallard and Buchanan had 12 each and Luke Boyd was also in double figures with 10. This week the task will be similar.

“We're gonna' see jet sweeps until we stop them. Until we prove we can step up and stop the jet sweep those fast teams are gonna' run it on us—and they should,” Harrell offered. “We look forward to the challenge.”

The coach did note that starting defensive back and tight end Quentin Reeves is doubtful for this week due to concussion protocol. Otherwise, everyone will be available although Boyd and Buchanan will be nursing minor dings.

“We had an awesome crowd the other night, some people say it was one of the biggest crowds in school history, and I feel like I let everybody down,” Coach Harrell surmised. “But, don't give up on us, and come on out this Friday night for the Rivercrest game because it will be a good one.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday night at Parker Field.

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