Tribe Batters Bobcats, Set for Road Playoff Game
The Piggott Mohawk football team is slated to visit the McGehee Owls Friday night in the first round of the 3A state football playoffs. This marks the third straight year the Tribe has qualified for postseason play, a school record, as they seek to advance to the second round for only the second time. The Mohawks cemented their fourth place finish in conference Friday night with a little help, as they easily handled Corning—then got some assistance as Walnut Ridge beat Hoxie to avoid a three-way tie. This scenario would have earned the Tribe a fifth place finish, and a trip to Rison for the first round match-up. Instead, the Mustangs have that honor.
Friday night the home portion of the Mohawk's season came to a close, as they marked senior night for the class of 2019. A special ceremony was also held before the contest, as a memorial bench was dedicated to former Mohawk Gage Dodd, who lost his life in a traffic accident this past June. As part of the recognition Dodd's brother, Jude, served as a special captain for the Tribe and took part in the pre-game ceremonies.
Afterward, the long-time rivalry was renewed with gusto as the two teams battled for county bragging rights. But, as it has been the past several years, the Tribe dominated the Bobcats on both sides of the football en route to a 66-6 decision.
Choosing to defer to the second half, the Mohawks kicked-off to Corning and caught the Bobcats napping as they covered an onside kick to take possession. On the play from scrimmage the Tribe struck, as quarterback Trey Gossett hit Matt Bowers with a pass to the right side. Bowers then lateraled the ball to senior speedster Gunner Shaw, and he carried it 47 yards for the first touchdown of the night. Luke Boyd added the two-point conversion for the Mohawks, and the Tribe led 8-0 just nine second into the ballgame.
Just moments later the defense would capitalize on one of the many Bobcats miscues, as Gossett scooped up a fumble and carried it in for another Mohawk touchdown. Adding the two point conversion from Boyd, the Tribe extended the lead to 16-0 less than two minutes into the game.
The Mohawks would score again on their next possession, as junior Sky Wright broke a 20 yard touchdown gallop with just over a minute to go in the first quarter. With Gossett adding the two point conversion, the Mohawk lead stood at 24-0 as the first drew to a close.
But, the Tribe once again wasted no time adding to their tally. As the second quarter got underway, Wright picked-up another Corning fumble and carried it 28 yards for yet another TD. This time Shaw added the conversion, and the Mohawk lead was 32-0.
For the hapless Bobcats, they would add insult to injury just moments later as a bad snap was covered in the Corning end zone for a Piggott safety, extending the Mohawk lead to 34-0.
That score stood for only a few minutes, as Shaw broke a 63-yard touchdown run with 9:09 to go in the first half. This time it was Wright providing the two point conversion to make it 42-0.
As time dwindled in the first half of play, Shaw would get his final touchdown of the night as he carried the ball in from the seven yard line. With Gossett recording the two-point conversion, the Tribe enjoyed a 50-0 lead at the intermission.
The second half saw a great deal of substitutes for the Mohawks, although they did score 16 additional points. The first touchdown came on a 22 yard run by Wright, with Brandon Seal adding the conversion on a sweeper play to the left. This extended the lead to 58-0, as the clock ran throughout the second half due to the mercy rule.
The final Piggott score came late in the game as Wright carried the ball in from the five yard line. Back-up quarterback Tanner Dixon added the conversion, and the Mohawks led 66-0 late.
The Bobcats did finally get on the scoreboard late in the contest, as they took advantage of a couple of big plays and Mohawk penalties. The touchdown came on a five yard pass completion to Jordan Grubb, although the conversion attempt was no good, setting the final score.
For Coach Michael Harrell, the most positive aspect of the win was escaping with healthy starters.
“We came out of the game healthy, the guys really laid it all out there. You know, it was two minutes into the game and we're up 16-0 and it was pretty-much just cruising from there,” he said of the win. “But, I liked the execution. We hit on all cylinders the other night, both the spread and the power game looked good. And, the defense played well—lights out.”
The coach also pointed to the bench play as a positive, giving him a good look at things to come.
“Everybody got a little playing time and we got to show our depth.” he added. “I was really proud of the underclassmen in the second half, we came out with Tanner Dixon running the spread and looked really good with Brandon Seal, Michael Parker and Sky and those guys—next year's team, I really thought they came out and showed a lot in the second half.”
Shaw led all rushers with 126 yards on 11 carries, and added 47 yards receiving; Wright had 73 yards on five carries and 49 yards in kick returns; Gossett had 31 yards on four totes; Dixon had 29 on three carries; Jacob Scott had 23 on just three carries and Boyd had 19 yards on three carries.
On defense, Gossett led the team with six tackles; Bowers and Boyd had five each and Logan Allman had four. Bowers, Gossett and Dylan West all had fumble recoveries in the win.
The Tribe will make the long trip to McGehee Friday night where they'll take on the Owls, the second place finishers from 3A-6. They're 7-3 overall and 5-1 in conference, and last week posted a non-conference win over the Fordyce Redbugs 33-24. Ironically, the Redbugs will be making the trip to Rector this Friday evening, as they'll be the Cougar's first round opponents in the 2A state playoff bracket.
“McGehee is a powerhouse known throughout the state, they're a regular conference champion, I think they were a final four team and I believe they've got 14 starters back from that final four team. So, we've got our hands full going to McGehee,” Harrell added. “Their conference is tough, our conference is tough, it's a really a good match-up for us. We match up well, we both run the same style of offense and they run a 5-2 on defense.”
On the plus side, the Tribe does enjoy a size difference—and the benefits of the weight room.
“If we do have an advantage it's that we're bigger than they are, we have a size advantage, and we're strong,” he concluded. “This is going to come down to execution and taking care of the ball.”
Coach Harrell will also be looking for a little help from the weatherman, as he feels cool and wet conditions favor the Tribe. “I think there's a 70 percent chance of rain there on Friday, and it's a 50 or 60 percent chance the days before. I think the temperature will be down in the low 40s to upper 30s and it's going to be wet, so we need to be tough,” he offered. “We need to be fundamentally sound and take care of the ball.”
The winner will advance, and will likely visit Newport in the second round of play. As the second-seed from 3A-3, the Greyhounds are hosting Centerpoint Friday night in their first round playoff game.
The team is scheduled to travel to Little Rock to spend the night on Thursday, with a send-off scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at PHS. Kickoff at McGehee is set for 7 p.m. Friday.