Junior Hornets spoil junior Warriors spoiler attempt, 8-0
Tribune Sports Staff
If EPC had won the week before, against Corning, the game last Thursday night would have been for all the marbles in 3AAA. Unfortunately, the junior Warriors lost their contest with junior Bobcats so their roll against the junior Hornets became one of spoilers.
Once again, unfortunately, Harrisburg "out defensed" EPC to the tune of 8-0 to remain undefeated and solidify their hold on the conference title.
"It was a very hard-fought game," EPC coach Brian Weathers said afterward. "The defenses on both sides played outstandingly. They're undefeated for a reason. We just couldn't get anything going at all."
Even the opening kickoff was not in EPC's favor as they fumbled the return to the junior Hornets at the junior Warrior 42.
Seven plays later, though, Harrisburg fumbled the ball back to the visitors at their own 20 where EPC set up shop.
Dustin Beatty, who all season long had broken one long gain after another, had one of his longest gains of the night on the first play from scrimmage when he ran to the 27 to set up a second and three. Three plays later, though, after an incomplete pass and a false start penalty, the junior Warriors had retreated to their 22 with a fourth and 8, forcing a punt.
With the cold and wet conditions, the ball didn't roll when it landed and Harrisburg took over at their own 45 for what would be the only scoring drive of the night.
However, it would be a very short scoring drive, only three plays of 22, 5 and 28 yards for the touchdown followed by the conversion.
The remainder of the night would be a defensive battle as each scoring attempt by both teams would end in fumbles or outstanding, drive-stopping plays.
The only real scoring threat EPC made came late in the second period when they took the ball at their own 45 and, in spite of three penalties, took 10 plays to drive to the Harrisburg 27. The drive stalled there, though, and the half ended as the game would.
The only other threat by either team came late in the game when, with 3:00 showing on the clock, the junior Hornets burst it down to the EPC five for a first and goal.
Showing the type of spunk that had carried them in many games throughout the year, the junior Warriors held for four straight plays to give themselves one more chance with 2:32 remaining.
Knowing their opponents had to do something quick, though, Harrisburg simply played a form of prevent defense which allowed the junior Warriors to get out only to the 22 where the downs, seconds later, the clock ran out.
"They just came after us the whole game," Weathers continued. "We made four or five mental mistakes and that cost us the game. Thye seemed to be keying on Beatty and trying to make us pass and with the conditions, we just couldn't get it done.I'm real proud of our effort, though."
Beatty finished the game averaging less than three yards a carry, far short of his normal numbers, going 12 for 30 yards. Byron Ford did slightly better average wise as he rushed six times for 24 yards. Quarterback Chris Maddox finished with two rushes for one hard while completing one pass of seven to Ky Madden for 18 yards. Madden would also attempt a pass, but it fluttered to the ground in the inclement weather.
Defensively, Madden and Beatty would also finish the game with one interception each.
EPC will play its last game of the season Thursday as they travel to Barton for a 7 p.m. game.