CHAFFEE -- Offenses ruled as the East Prairie Eagles outlasted the Chaffee Red Devils in a 30-26 shootout on homecoming night at Chaffee.
The two teams combined for 774 yards of total offense -- 405 by East Prairie, 369 by Chaffee -- with several big scoring plays spicing the SEMO Conference Southern Division action.
Chaffee (2-4) rallied from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to close within four with about 2:30 remaining. Unable to move the ball on its next possession, East Prairie punted then held on a fourth-and-one at the Chaffee 39 with time ticking away to secure the win.
"When we had 'em down by 16, we've got to be able to put 'em away," said East Prairie coach Cory Adkisson, whose Eagles improved to 2-3.
Chaffee opened the first quarter chewing up chunks of yardage on the ground before the drive stalled at the East Prairie 20.
On the Eagles' first possession, it was evident the Red Devils were intent on stopping the run, particularly the bursts of leading ground gainer M.C. Williams.
On the third play from scrimmage, East Prairie quarterback Cameron Woodward dropped and found wideout Perry Lucas with a perfect spiral in full stride for a 73-yard touchdown strike.
"They came in determined to stop the run and we couldn't get much going on the ground in the first quarter," said Adkisson. "They stacked eight and nine guys in the box and had single coverage on our receivers. Coach (offensive coordinator Gary) Scott, who called a great game, saw that and we went up top."
The Red Devils came right back with their relentless ground game. A 13-play, 72-yard drive was capped by Steven Atkinson's 3-yard plunge. Andrew Hendrix' extra-point kick sent Chaffee up 7-6, the first-quarter score.
East Prairie, forced to punt on the opening series of the second quarter, was again pummeled by the Chaffee ground game.
The Red Devils finished off an eight-play, 52-yard drive on Hendrix' 13-yard run. The point after lifted the Red Devils to a 14-6 advantage.
"I told the kids on the sideline that we can't panic now," said Adkisson. "It's a long game and we've just got to keep doing what we're doing."
The Eagles kept the pressure on, again connecting on a long pass play. Woodward hit tight end Tony Jones, who made a juggling catch and rambled into the end zone from 41 yards out to close the gap to 14-12.
East Prairie's Trenton Martin stripped Chaffee returner Jerrod Steger on the ensuing kickoff and appeared to have scored but a personal foul on the play nullified the touchdown and gave the Eagles possession at the Red Devil 19. Two plays later, fullback Riley Hadenfeldt rumbled in from 16 yards out.
Hadenfeldt, converted from fullback to an offensive lineman this season, provided a huge spark for the Eagles. The big 205-pound sophomore ripped off several key runs with 77 yards on 14 carries.
Said Adkisson, "We thought he might give us another dynamic at fullback. We didn't know if we were going to leave him at guard or start him at fullback going into the game, but we decided to go with it the first quarter. He ran the ball hard and he blocked well."
East Prairie took the 18-14 lead in at halftime.
"A lot of credit goes to Chaffee," said Adkisson. "They came out with a good game plan, wanted to be physical and they were. No doubt, they took it to us in the first half. I considered ourselves pretty lucky to be up at halftime."
The Eagles, with Williams finding more daylight, scored on their first and second possessions of the second half. Williams' 50-yard touchdown scamper on the first series widened the margin to 24-14.
After forcing a punt on Chaffee's next possession, the Eagles lit the scoreboard in five plays, culminating a 67-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown toss from Woodward to Lucas with 5:20 left in the third.
Junior signalcaller Woodward completed three passes, all for touchdowns in a 3-for-6, 139-yard, one interception performance.
"He threw it well at times and, at other times, he made poor decisions, but overall I thought he played well tonight," said Adkisson.
But, Chaffee, coached by Hall of Famer Charlie Vickery, was not ready to pack it in.
With 32 seconds left in the third, the Red Devils' Kent Courtney reeled off a 75-yard touchdown run.
A failed 2-point conversion set the score at 30-20 as the third period expired.
East Prairie answered with a strong drive on its next possession, moving efficiently from the Eagle 30.
A fumble, one of only two Eagle turnovers, at the Red Devil 7, however, short-circuited the potential game-clinching touchdown drive.
Chaffee took full advantage, marching downfield to score on an 18-yard halfback pass from Courtney to Trenton Horman to pull within four at 30-26, the final score.
"We knew they were going to run that reverse pass on us," said Adkisson. "We worked on it all week. They made a good play on it, but we should have been there. We knew it was coming."
Williams continued his hot hand with a game-high 181 rushing yards -- 803 for the season -- before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
Chaffee's backfield tandem of Hendrix (13-123), Courtney (9-106), Atkinson (13-63) and Steger (8-47) provided the bulk of the Red Devils' 345-yard rushing total.
East Prairie hosts winless Portageville on Friday.