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Warriors toppled in homecoming tilt

News editor

It started as a picture-perfect evening Friday for Peabody-Burns homecoming.

The crowd cheered as Warriors quarterback Bryant Young and Precious Kerr donned the crowns of homecoming king and queen.

The defense looked sharp as it manhandled Udall on its first possession — three plays, no yards, and a punt to the Peabody 35.

And when Jess Philpott’s first touch of the ball resulted in an electrifying 45-yard touchdown run for a 6-0 lead, the sideline and stands went wild.

It was homecoming, and everything was as it should be. No one had a clue that there would be little to cheer the rest of the game, as Udall put up 38 unanswered points to spoil the festivities 38-6.

The Eagles, helped by a controversial horse-collar tackle penalty against the Warriors, needed less than 90 seconds to tie the game on a 4-yard plunge by Dylan Loos. Just over two minutes later, they took the lead for good, 12-6, on a 23-yard touchdown run by Joshua Fielder.

Peabody fans were encouraged as the Warriors used two Philpott runs and a horse-collar penalty against the Eagles to move from their own 15-yard line to the Eagles 31, but Young was intercepted on a deep sideline pass at the 8.

The Warriors turned the ball over again on their next possession when Young dropped back to pass from his own 22 and was stripped of the ball, with Udall recovering at the 15. Four plays later, Loos was in the end zone again for an 18-6 lead.

The Warriors appeared to be right back in the game two minutes into the second quarter when Philpott got the call at the Peabody-Burns 6 yard line and bolted 74 yards for a score.

However, the Warriors were called for a block in the back, nullifying the score.

Udall scored again with 4:32 left in the second quarter and took a 24-6 lead into the half.

After the Warriors failed to move the ball on their opening possession of the second half, the Eagles responded with a 15-play drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Fielder, who also scored on the conversion to put Udall up 32-6.

From that point on it was a defensive battle. Bailey Penner, Jack Parks, and Landon Rives each covered Udall fumbles to end drives, and the Warriors didn’t allow another offensive touchdown.

Early in the fourth quarter the Warriors showed signs of life on offense when Young connected on consecutive passes to Matthew Montigny, Rocco Weertz, and Andrew Hauck to move from their own 20 to the Udall 26, but the drive stalled out when Young was sacked on fourth-and-2.

The Eagles picked up a late defensive score when Peyton Miller picked off a Young pass and returned it for a touchdown with 1 second left in the game, making the final score 38-6.

Coach David Pickens said the loss wasn’t so much Udall taking it as it was Peabody-Burns giving it away.

“We lost the game,” Pickens said. “We couldn’t get out of our own way at times. We would run positive plays and have them brought back because of dumb penalties, or we missed assignments, or missed snaps, or didn’t concentrate. Sometimes you have to focus, and I don’t know what we’ve got to do.”

Pickens usually follows his post-game comments to the team by talking to individual players, parents, and fans, but Friday he and his coaching staff retreated to the sidelines for a brief strategy session.

“We kind of huddled up here and came up with a little game plan for this next week to see if we can’t replicate game speed and game situations and toughness of the game,” he said. “We might put a few extra defenders against the first team. We might play at a faster tempo in practice.

“If you come and watch us practice from Monday to Thursday, we’re a totally different team. We execute, we don’t make those mistakes. I think our guys get lulled into the fact that it’s easy to execute against the second team, so we’re going to see if we can make it a little tougher.”

Philpott, who left the game with an injured hand in the third quarter but returned for the final series, piled up 114 yards on 22 carries. Weerts led the receiving corps with 4 catches for 42 yards. Young was 9-of-21 passing for 58 yards.

After consecutive losses, Peabody-Burns will try to get back on track in its last home game of the season, a senior night contest against Central-Burden.

Last modified Oct. 19, 2017

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