(Photos by Josh Mills, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- The New Madrid County Central Eagles fell 1-2 on the season Friday night as their visiting opponent the Potosi Trojans were victorious by a final score of 28-18.
According to NMCC head coach Arlen Pixley, the Eagles had a harder time battling themselves on Friday evening than they did the Trojans.
"Terrible," was the one word that Pixley summed up NMCC's play with following the game. "We weren't here tonight. We weren't in the locker room before the game and our guys have got to come in here more focused. I don't know if it's our youth or our inexperience or what, but this is a playoff-type game right here. This is a potential post-season match-up."
Potosi jumped out on the scoreboard first as Brandon Bourbon sprinted through the hole and into the endzone 20 yards for a touchdown at 3:27. Quarterback Matt Marler doubled as the place kicker and chipped in the extra point to put the Trojans on top 7-0 where the score would remain until the second quarter began.
Bourbon added his second score in the second quarter just minutes in at 8:43, this time from 35 yards out. Marler was solid for the extra point once again.
With 6:13 left in the second quarter, NMCC began a drive that eventually led to a one-yard touchdown run from quarterback Dontre Jenkins at 5:07. The Eagles then failed on the two-point conversion, a trend that lasted throughout the evening.
The Eagles deferred the opening kickoff, so in the second half they elected to receive the kick from the Trojans. Potosi had toyed with the idea of a squib kick throughout the evening and on the opening kick of the second half they drilled the kick right at the NMCC front line, then picked up the ball for the successful onside kick attempt.
Three first downs later the Trojans put up seven more points as Bourbon this time scored on a 30-yard pass from Marler at 6:29 followed by another extra point boot from the quarterback.
NMCC added one more score in the fourth quarter at 3:24 from Stevenson who rushed in from two yards out, but after another unsuccessful two-point conversion and another long drive from Potosi the clock expired with the Eagles falling 28-18.
"We didn't respond to pressure very well at all tonight," said Pixley. "We had way too many miscues early in the first half. There's no sense in any of that. It's first-and-10, it's second-and-12, it's third-and-14, and they're picking up a first down. It's fourth-and-24 over there and we're busting coverage and they're slipping a tailback out down the sideline on us, picking up a first down and then they score a touchdown on us. It's inexcusable."
"We've got coaches working extremely hard," he added. "These kids have got to come out mentally prepared. We're getting better at that, and I think a lot of that has to do with younger guys playing right now and some inexperience. We've got cornerbacks playing linebacker, our defensive scheme has had to change twice this year due to injuries and you can't learn a new defense and come in against a team that runs what they do and like they've been running since the first week of the summer and expect to do things whenever we've basically put in new defensive schemes because our personnel is constantly changing due to injury."
Bourbon made light of any defense on Friday evening as he had a solid performance with three rushing touchdowns and one receiving. He piled up 178 yards rushing on 25 carries and caught three passes for 42 yards. Marler was 9-for-17 in the air for 122 yards with no interceptions.
Pixley called Bourbon a gliding running back that was patient and looked for the right holes to run through. He attributed most of Bourbon's yardage to his squad's miscues on defense and said that most of the Potosi runner's yardage came on plays when the Trojans were still 10 yards from a first down.
The Eagles actually recorded more yards from scrimmage than their opponent with 378 total yards to Potosi's 317, but five turnovers proved costly in the end.
Stevenson led all NMCC rushers with 122 yards on 19 carries while Rodney Anderson led the receiving core with 102 yards on four catches. Jenkins was 8-for-12 with an interception at quarterback for the home team. He threw for 122 total yards in the loss.
The Eagles head to Charleston to take on the Bluejays Friday evening at 7 p.m.