The Eagles fought hard but in the end it was too much Caruthersville running back Kendrickus Reed. After the dust had settled, Reed rushed for 379 yards on 35 carries and scored four rushing touchdowns.
Reed made the record book in the State of Missouri as his rushing total of 379 yards, places him at No. 13 of all-time yardage gained in a single game.
"Reed had a phenomenal game," said Caruthersville head coach Brad Gerling. "Couple of games ago I sat down and talked to him about expectations we have of him and for him to show people at the next level what he has. Tonight, he had an unbelievable game."
Coach Corey Adkisson of East Prairie could not be more proud of his team, despite the loss.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard first at 7:28 of the first quarter, when quarter Mitchell Winchester threw a pass over the middle to an open Paris Tipler. Tipler ran past the Tiger defenders for a 55-yard touchdown reception. After the PAT, East Prairie led 7-0.
Caruthersville rode Reed all night but the Tigers did mix up plays early. At 4:
21 in the first quarter, Caruthersville's quarterback Keith Creekmore found wideout Jason Tate open in the back of the end zone and lofted a nice pass over the Eagle defender for six. The Tigers missed the PAT and East Prairie led 7-6 after one quarter.
The Tigers took the lead early in the second quarter as Creekmore hooked up with sophomore wideout Rashad Fields for 19-yard touchdown reception. Reed ran in the two-point conversion and Caruthersville led 14-7 at 11:51 of the second quarter.
The Eagles tied it up on their next possession as Tipler scored on a 13-yard touchdown run making the score 14-14 at 8:39 of the second quarter.
Caruthersville took the lead late in the first half as Reed scored on a 3-yard plunge. The Tigers went up 21-14 with 2:34 left in the second quarter.
East Prairie got the football back with over two minutes left in the first half. However, mental mistakes prevented the Eagles from tying the score heading into halftime. Winchester completed a pass to tight end Tony Jones for what appeared to be a 64-yard gain down to the Tigers' 4-yard line. But the referee called holding on the Eagles and negated the big gain.
An illegal substitution on East Prairie with 1:06 left in the second quarter erased a 16-yard run by Tipler. A down was taken away from the Eagles when intentional grounding was called on the Eagles quarterback. To add insult, Winchester was intercepted by Jake VanAusdall with 1.5 seconds left in the half that left East Prairie trailing by seven at halftime.
Reed got the Tigers some cushion early in the third quarter as he got loose for a 30-yard touchdown run. Caruthersville led 27-14 with 9:47 left in the third.
The Eagles started slow out of the gates early in the second half as the Tigers stopped the Eagles on two straight drives. Caruthersville capitalized by scoring two touchdowns after the defensive stops. The second touchdown was also scored by Reed on a 12-yard run making the score 35-14 after the two-point conversion by Reed.
East Prairie got going after a 60-yard kickoff return by Tipler which gave the Eagles excellent position. Tipler eventually punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 35-22 after a Zach Secoy two-point conversion with 4:
37 left in the third quarter.
Caruthersville seemed to give East Prairie a big break at 3:48 of the third quarter as Creekmore rolled out down the line of scrimmage to what appeared to be an option play. The Eagles sniffed the play out and leveled Creekmore who appeared to loose the football and East Prairie recovered.
After a group discussion by the officials, they ruled that Creekmore was in the act of throwing the football and the play was ruled an incompletion.
Several questionable calls by the officials were made on Thursday night. When asked if some of those calls affected the outcome of the game, Adkisson replied, "no comment."
The Eagles did recover and Tipler scored on a 4-yard run making the score 35-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Fields set up the Tigers next score early in the fourth quarter as he scampered 51 yards to put Caruthersville in excellent field position. Creekmore scored on a 4-yard quarterback sneak to put the Tigers up 43-28 after the Reed two-point conversion with 11:18 left in the fourth quarter.
East Prairie answered back at 7:37 in the quarter as Tipler scored his fifth touchdown in the game on a 17-yard touchdown run. After the PAT, the Eagles trailed 43-35.
Caruthersville sealed the fate of the Eagles when Reed ran in a 1-yard touchdown to make the final score 50-35 in favor of the Tigers.
Adkisson had nothing but good things to say about the game Reed had on Thursday night.
"We knew he would get his yards," said Adkisson. "Sometimes we would get to him but we couldn't bring him down. You can't arm-tackle Reed, he is too strong."
Reed expressed extra motivation against East Prairie.
"I got motivated to play against Tipler and (Dez) Johnson," said Reed. "All the talk has been about us, so I wanted to show what I could do. I give all the credit to my offensive line, they opened up the holes. I felt good all night running behind my line."
Tiger offensive lineman Ted VanAusdall got a bird's eye view on the night of Reed from his center position.
"It felt good to open up the holes," said VanAusdall. "We are starting to come together as an offensive line and we are blocking better and making the right reads at the line."
The Tigers rushed for 534 yards on the night. Caruthersville got good contributions from Fields who rushed for 86 yards on six carries and Aaron Borders who had 26 yards on three carries.
Creekmore had two touchdown passes for the Tigers and threw for 37 yards. Tate and Fields caught the touchdown passes of 19 and 18 yards respectfully.
East Prairie ran for 321 yards combined and were led by Tipler who carried 18 times for 143 yards. Johnson had 92 yards on 17 carries. Winchester had a good night running the quarterback sneak for a total of 86 yards on 12 carries.
Winchester threw for a touchdown and had 84 yards passing. Tipler had a touchdown reception and caught three passes for 84 yards.
The Eagles took the loss hard after being so close to the playoffs.
"It hurts," said Johnson who is a senior. "No games left to play. But have to move on. Got to get over it."
Fellow senior R.C. Strand echoed the statements of Johnson.
"I have played my last high school football game," said Strand. "I feel I let the team down because I got injured in the second quarter and I could of played better. It hurts, it hurts real bad."
Linebacker Mikey Lack led the Tigers on defense as he racked up nine tackles on the night. Borders was second with eight tackles. J. VanAusdall had six tackles and an interception. Defensive lineman Evan Gibson got two sacks for Caruthersville.
Woods led the Eagles in tackles as he got seven against the Tigers. David Stalker, Riley Hadenfelt and Tipler each got six tackles. Strand ended his high school career with five stops on the night.
East Prairie ends their season at 5-4. Caruthersville (5-5) moves on to play Crystal City at home on Wednesday night in sectional action.
"We had ups and downs this year," said Gerling. "We have won three straight district titles but this one is special, because it is my first title as head coach. Kids played their hearts out tonight and have recommitted themselves to this team. We start a new season on Wednesday night."