Tribe Tames Mustangs for Homecoming Victory
The Piggott Mohawks hosted the Hoxie Mustangs Friday night for homecoming with major playoff implications on the line. And, although the pageantry of the homecoming celebration was dampened by rain, the fireworks on the field more than made up for the soggy conditions for the fans as the Tribe won the slugfest 42-35.
“That was a big program win for us, we've had a lot of big wins the past four years. A lot of people ask me about the Rivercrest win, but the big one for me was the Hoxie win two years ago,” Mohawk Coach Michael Harrell said afterward. “Beating Coach (Tom) Sears and that 10 man coaching staff was a big one, but for me this is the biggest game we've ever won. And, we're still in the hunt for a home playoff game with this win.”
Leading the way on the night were quarterback Trey Gossett (20 carries for 169 yards) and running back Gunner Shaw (151 yards on 20 carries), although the special teams and defense played huge roles in the success.
After kicking off to Hoxie, and forcing them to punt, the Tribe put together a balanced drive capped with Shaw's first touchdown, from six yards out, with just under six minutes to play in the first. Lane Buchanan added the two point conversion, and the Mohawks led 8-0.
The Mustangs answered with a Chandler Spradlin to River Brewer touchdown pass from 28 yards out early in the second, with Spradlin adding the two point conversion to tie the game.
The following Mohawk drive ate up several minutes, with Jacob Scott scoring from the three with 7:51 left until the break. This time the conversion was no good, giving the Mohawks the 14-8 lead.
The visitors added a 55 yard touchdown pass from Spradlin to Ethan Block a short time later, as Hoxie took a 15-14 lead. But, it was short-lived as the Mohawks pounded it downfield to the one, with Gossett taking it in to give the home team a 20-15 halftime advantage.
The Mustangs did mount a drive late in the quarter, but a huge defensive play by Dylan Bellers stopped them on fourth and goal.
The Tribe would stretch the lead on the opening kickoff of the second half, as Shaw rambled 77 yards for a touchdown. Last week, in the loss at Walnut Ridge, the talented senior also returned the second half kickoff for a TD. Gossett then added the conversion to make it 28-15.
Hoxie answered with a 10 yard pass reception for a TD, but on the following drive Shaw broke out of a pack and ran 55 yards to score another Piggott touchdown to make it 34-21.
Stopping the Mustangs on the following drive, the Mohawks threatened once again but the drive ended as a fumble was scooped-up and returned 95 yards by Hayden Riggs, with 3:56 to go in the third.
But, once again the Piggott special teams play came to the front as Sky Wright took the ensuing kickoff back over 75 yards for another TD. Afterward, Gossett hit Bellers in the end zone for the conversion and the Mohawks led 42-27.
Not to be denied, the Mustangs would score once more on a 31 yard catch by Cameron Johnson, to set the final score at 42-35.
“Our defense I feel like they just played their guts out. Coach (Will) Daffron and them. You know they're a very balanced football team and we sold-out on the passing game to stop the run,” Harrell explained. “And, we did that—held them to 106 yards rushing. They did get us through the air, but we were gonna have to give up something and we were willing to give that up.”
The coach also had high praise for the play of the Mohawk special teams.
“Special teams have been huge for us the past couple of weeks, you know. I can't believe people keep kicking it deep to us,” he added. “You know Gunner (Shaw) has run two kickoffs back, and Sky Wright is actually leading the conference in kick return yardage. And, I think Gunner was number two—at least before tonight.”
With Gossett and Shaw carrying the load with 40 carries between them, Scott finished with 29 yards on nine totes.
“The boys just gutted it up, I mean it was three yards and a cloud of dust and just relentless effort. And, that's what these guys bring to the table,” Harrell offered. “They're hard-working kids, who come from awesome hard working families, and we're just blessed here in Piggott. We've got a good thing going, and I feel so blessed.”
With the win the Mohawks all-but cement their spot in the playoffs, and according to how the string plays out, could be hosting a first round game. But, this week the competition is even stronger, as the Mohawks will be going on the road to take on league leading Osceola (5-2/4-0). Last week the Seminoles pounded Harrisburg 54-0. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.