Mohawk Football Season Ends at Prescott
For the second year in a row the Piggott Mohawks visited the Prescott Curley Wolves in the 3A high school football playoffs. Last year the hosts won a lopsided shoot-out en route to the state title, this year the two teams squared-off in an old fashioned slugfest with Prescott holding on for a 30-18 win.
In truth, as it was in the previous meeting the score failed to tell how evenly matched the two teams were as the Curley Wolves took advantage of a handful of big plays to advance.
“The boys really played their guts out, they left it all on the field,” Mohawk Coach Michael Harrell said of the contest. “They played with pride, guts and desire and represented our town and our school to the highest level possible. It was just a great high school football game.”
Getting the football first, the Mohawks hoped to set the tone for the night with a quick score. What they did get was a turnover, setting up the first Prescott touchdown. It came on a 13 yard run by quarterback Thomas Muldrew, with Kade Honea adding the PAT.
“We had that turnover right off the bat, and they went down and scored two plays later and got us down seven to nothing,” Harrell remarked. “But, the boys responded and drove it down there and we took an eight to seven lead. From there it was a back-and-forth game.”
The first Piggott score came as quarterback Trey Gossett hit junior tight end Matt Bowers on a 12 yard pass completion, and run. Gossett then added the two point conversion and the Tribe led 8-7.
Late in the first quarter Prescott would score again, as MyKal Burns ran it in from four yards out. This time the two point conversion was good, extending the Curley Wolves lead to 15-8.
The hosts added another touchdown in the second quarter, the only scoring by either team in the frame, as Muldrew carried it in from the 13 yard line. Once again the PAT was good, as the Prescott lead stood at 22-8 at the half.
The Mohawks would answer early in the third quarter, as senior Hayden Lemmons broke through the defense and raced 40 yards to paydirt. Once again Gossett called his own number for the conversion, and the Mohawks pulled to within a touchdown.
“We cut it back to 22-16 in the third, and they ended up scoring late in the quarter on a screen pass when they got their man out in space,” Harrell offered. “With athletes like that they're tough when they get out in space, after all they are the Prescott Curley Wolves. They were 15-0 last year and they're 10-1 this year and going to the second round of the playoffs. I was really proud of the way the guys played, but it's just a tough first round draw. I think if we'd played three-fourths of the other teams in the first round we'd have won.”
With just over three minutes left in the third quarter the Curley Wolves would score for the final time, as Burns capped a long drive with a one yard touchdown run. Muldrew added the conversion, giving the home team a 30-16 advantage.
Down the stretch the Mohawks were unable to find the endzone, but continued to have a strong game on defense. Backed under the shadow of their own goal post late in the contest, the Curley Wolves took a safety to set the final score.
“Me and the boys are disappointed that it's over, but I am so proud to have the opportunity to work with these guys. I'm just really proud of them,” Coach Harrell added.
Lemmons led all rushers on the night with 131 yards on 17 carries with one touchdown.
“Hayden Lemmons had the game of his life, he went out like a superstar, I was so proud of him. I think he had like 131 yards rushing, had a touchdown and he had some big hits on defense,” Harrell added. “I think he finished with seven tackles. He was also a great leader, I was so proud of him he had such a great senior season.”
Meanwhile, Gunner Shaw finished with 58 yards on 13 carries; John Jones had 45 yards on 15 totes; Gossett had seven carries for 40 yards; Cade Harrell had seven carries for 28 yards; Lane Buchanan had five carries for 13 yards and Mason Tillman carried the ball twice.
“Gunner had a really great game, I was really proud of the way our juniors and sophomores played. We're losing a lot of depth to graduation, but talent-wise we're going to be just fine,” Harrell said of his younger Mohawks. “We're still loaded at running back and we'll have four of the seven offensive linemen back. Trey will be back at quarterback.”
But, with graduation taking such anchors as lineman Nate Mallard, and integral pieces such as Lemmons, Harrell and Jones there will be issues to be addressed.
“One of our big thing will be replacing those two linebackers, John (Jones) and Cade (Harrell), over the last three years they've accounted for nearly 600 tackles between the two of them,” Coach Harrell offered. “Averaging about 100 tackles a year they're going to be hard to replace, but we've got some guys that can step up and play.”
Leading the way in tackles Friday night was Jones with nine, Lemmons had seven, while Harrell and Tillman finished with five and Mallard had four tackles to his credit.
But, Coach Harrell is quick to note the cupboard won't be completely bare next fall.
“We've got some good size with our young guys, and those guys like Drake (Featherston) and Sky (Wright) have been working hard and will be ready to step up. And, we've got some good freshmen that will be sophomores, like Kyson Conley, Michael Parker, Tanner Dixon and that bunch,” Coach Harrell offers. “I'm excited about the future, and getting ready for next year. We're going to take a few weeks off and let these guys re-charge, then we'll come back the first week of January and start working to make it back to the playoffs. I think we're right in the hunt, especially with Rivercrest being gone.”
Of this year's team, only the second Mohawk squad to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons (1999 and 2000) the coach had high praise.
“I was proud of the season these guys had, they play in a tough conference and this year there was a target on our backs. We didn't sneak up on anyone. So, we've had to work a little bit learning how to handle the success,” he concludes. “With the easy non-conference schedule we had we thought we'd just plow right through, so we've had to learn some lessons along the way. But, I'm proud of this year's team and I'm excited about re-charging and getting ready for next season.”
The season is slated to begin on Friday, Aug. 31, with a road contest at either Hazen or Westside. Week two will be a road game at Brookland and week three the Rector Cougars visit Parker Field. Week four will be a home game against Manila and week five will be at Harrisburg. Week six is at Walnut Ridge and Hoxie visits Piggott for week seven. Week eight is at Osceola and week nine is at home against Newport with the season finale' on Thursday, Nov. 2, as the Tribe hosts Corning for the Rice Bowl Trophy.