Mohawks Come Up Short in Shootout
The Piggott Mohawk football team's chances of hosting a first round playoff game evaporated at Hoxie Friday evening, as the Tribe suffered from a handful of turnovers en route to a 50-36 loss. Despite the set-back, the squad is still in line for a fourth place finish in conference, and a road playoff game at Prescott on Nov. 10. It will mark the first time in modern history a Piggott team has qualified for postseason play two years in a row.
Coming into the game on a winning streak, the Mohawks looked poised to finish strong and nail down the three-seed. But, the Mustangs also had the idea of hosting a playoff game, and their option-read offense proved difficult to stop. “This game, if you love offense you'd love this game,” Mohawk Coach Michael Harrell said of the contest. “Over 1,000 yards between two teams. We had 490 yards in total offense, 460 rushing and 30 passing, we had 25 first downs and ran 82 plays. Last year when we beat Rivercrest we ran 72 plays, so the formula was there.”
Standing in the way were the Mustangs, and after winning the coin toss they chose to take the ball first, and quickly got on the scoreboard. Their first score came on a 19 yard run by quarterback Chandler Spradlin, off the option read, and with the PAT Hoxie led 7-0. The Tribe answered a few minutes later, as John Jones scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night from two yards out. Cade Harrell added the two point conversion and the Mohawks led 8-7.
Mounting a strong defensive stand, the Tribe got the football back late in the first, with Jones scoring from three yards out to make it a 14-7 Piggott lead.
The hosts Mustangs then reeled-off four unanswered touchdowns, scoring from 22, 5 and 20 yards out in the second and from the nine yard line on the first drive of the third, to move to a 35-14 advantage. Helping the Mustang effort were several Mohawk miscues.
“We had five fumbles and lost three of them. And that's just not us, that's not how we do things,” Coach Harrell observed. “You just can't turn the ball over to a team like Hoxie, with an offense like theirs.”
The Mohawks finally stopped the bleeding at the 4:12 mark of the third quarter as Jones scored from the two yard line, and Harrell once again added the two point conversion to make it 35-22. The Tribe also scored on the first play of the fourth quarter, as quarterback Trey Gossett carried it in from three yards out. Gossett also added the two point conversion, as the Mohawks had cut the Mustang lead to just five points, 35-30.
Again, the hosts answered though, scoring less than a minute later from the one yard line after a long kickoff return. With the PAT they extended their lead to 42-30.
Never giving-up, the Mohawks again mounted a scoring drive which was capped by a five yard run by Gossett, although the conversion was no good. Spradlin answered with a three yard touchdown about two minutes later, and Diamani Davis added the two point conversion to set the final score.
The Tribe did mount two more drives, including a late effort which ended as Cade Harrell fumbled the football reaching for the end zone. Another sputtered as several long pass attempts fell incomplete.
“They ran through us like water with that spread option, and they pass with precision,” Harrell offered. “But, of course it's a Tom Sears coached offense and this is his 19th year, and what he's done at Hoxie over the past two decades is phenomenal. I think he's one of the best coaches in the state of Arkansas.”
Cade Harrell paced the offense with 114 yards on 15 carries while Hayden Lemmons finished with 79 yards on 11 totes; Jones had 68 yards on 17 carries; Lane Buchanan had 55 yards on six carries; Gunner Shaw finished with 54 yards on four carries; Gossett had 44 yards on nine carries, and was two for five passing for 30 yards, and Mason Tillman had 24 yards on five carries. Davis led the Mustangs with 108 yards on 17 carries while Spradlin was five of 10 for 81 yards passing with two touchdowns.
“Both defenses did what they could do, but they ran through us and we ran through them, it came down to whichever team made the least mistakes won,” Harrell surmised. “They're big on the line, but we're pretty evenly matched. Their quarterback made some great reads, but it came down to the fact that you just have to take care of the football.”
With the loss the Mohawks are in line for the fourth place finish in conference, and a first round state playoff road trip back to Prescott. For Coach Harrell, he approaches the challenge somewhat philosophically.
“We believe everything happens for a reason, and we're going back to Prescott again and we're looking forward to it,” he offers. “We've been watching some film on them and they're just not as good as they were last year. The quarterback isn't as good, they do have a couple of really big D-linemen up front, but our offensive line can handle that. You know, these guys have never lost back-to-back games to anybody, so we're looking forward to the match-up.”
Although the Tribe seems preoccupied with the Curleywolves, they've also been steadily preparing for Thursday night's regular season finale' at Corning.
“Everybody is healthy, we've moved up the freshmen and we're ready for Corning,” Harrell adds with a smile. “It's Corning week, baby.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Thursday night at Corning as the two cross-county rivals compete for the Rice Bowl Trophy. Last week the Bobcats fell 49-14 to Walnut Ridge for their 31st loss in a row.