Wildcats pass by Red Dragons
Written by: Avery Falisec on Tuesday, September 4th, 2018
The Purchase Line Red Dragons kicked off their home opener, Friday, August 31, 2018. The Homer Center Wildcats traveled to Purchase Line High School, like PL, looking for their first win of the season. The Dragons lost to the Wildcats 50-28. Junior lineman Giovanni Scott commented, “We had the ability, we just didn’t finish.” Though the score was what everyone will remember from the game, it is hardly the whole tale.
The intensity of the game was already starting, as the captains, junior running back Cullen Goncher, junior quarterback Jacob Barnett, senior lineman Quinn Scalese, and senior lineman Kaleb Yarger, reached midfield. With a flip of a coin and a shake of hands, the Dragons decided to defer the ball the second half in order to start strong.
The game started off with Barnett kicking the ball that was caught in the arms of Homer Center’s Logan Williams. Williams started to sprint down the field with the ball in hand. The impressive run survived right through the Dragons’ defense, and what started out to be just a kickoff, turned into a 75-yard touchdown run for the Wildcats only 12 seconds into the game.
The Dragons badly needed to turn around the game. Homer Center’s Ben Schmidt kicked the ball out of bounds, giving the Dragons something small to celebrate. Eventually, Goncher got the ball, giving the Dragons their first first down. Then, the Wildcats were flagged for a false start during the next play. Several plays were made by Purchase Line before Goncher had a 7-yard touchdown. Soon after, Williams struck again with a 69-yard touchdown. This set the score at the end of the first quarter to be 15-8, Wildcats.
During the second quarter the teams again exchanged touchdowns. Purchase Line scored again when sophomore Joshua Syster caught a 29-yard pass in the endzone from Barnett. The Wildcats responded quickly again with their passing game. The Dragons were pressuring the Wildcats’ Schmidt when he threw a pass to a wide open Jayke Saiani, which gave the Wildcats another touchdown. Unfortunately for Homer Center, the touchdown was flagged and called back for an illegal man downfield. The next pass thrown by Schmidt was intercepted by Barnett, but in a similar manner, was called back because of defensive pass interference. Not long after, Cobe Daugherty hauled in a 23-yard pass from Schmidt, making the score 22-14. The Red Dragon offense still kept pushing back. With time running out in the second quarter, Syster sprinted 31 yards down the left sideline, scoring Purchase Line’s final touchdown of the first half. The score became 22-20, Homer Center. The game at this point was in anyone’s hands.
The offenses for both teams were a little quieter in the third quarter. Williams, once again, proved to be more than the Dragons could handle when he scored another touchdown of 84 yards. The Dragons were being plagued with injuries and cramps throughout the third quarter, leaving backups and many different positions. Many younger Red Dragons were being thrown into the stage of a big game. Jayce Brooks, one of the ninth graders who played on Friday’s game, said “I think it was rough. It was a big step up from junior high but it was a good experience.”
Maximus Falisec, another one of ninth graders who played on Friday, said, “It was a tight game, and we [ninth graders] played hard. I thought it was a good game, we just need to work even harder.”
The fourth quarter was a low time for the Dragons. Williams started off the quarter with a 25-yard touchdown, along with Trevor Mlakar with a 3-yard touchdown. The final touchdown from the Dragons was scored by Barnett with a two-yard run. The Dragons’ defense continued to struggle. At the end of the game, Franklin Maratita scored one last touchdown for the Wildcats with a 1-yard burst. The buzzer sounded, leaving one team to celebrate and the other to feel the pain of loss, with a score of 50-28.
“We started off strong, but we need to focus on keeping our heads up,” Syster said following the game.
“Williams was phenomenal tonight. He ran the ball hard, found the seams, and hit them,” Coach Matthew Falisec stated after the game on Friday.
The Red Dragons look forward on rebounding and playing a better game when they host Marion Center September 7.
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