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Pekin’s methodical flexbone offense rushed for 335 yards and proved to be too much in a 35-7 loss for Mid-Prairie.
Mid-Prairie’s lone touchdown on the night came on a 80-yard kickoff return with 7:44 remaining in the second quarter. Boyse, who nearly went untouched on the touchdown return zipped in and out of Pekin’s return team for the score.
The Panthers were led by Dayne Eckley, who rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries throughout the night. Six other Pekin players rushed the ball, combining for the other 157 yards and three touchdowns.
The Panthers controlled the ball for 33 minutes and 36 seconds compared to just 15:24 for the Golden Hawks.
“We expected them to run hard up the middle. I don’t know if we weren’t prepared or what, but they brought it to us,” Mid-Prairie defensive end Jack Baker said.
Mid-Prairie’s initial drive looked promising as the the Golden Hawks earned two first downs on four consecutive Justin Schwartz rushes. A holding penalty created a second-and-19 situation and forced Mid-Prairie to pass. The resulting play was an interception for Pekin, putting them on the Mid-Prairie 27.
The Panthers put the ball in the end zone three plays later on an Eckley 11-yard rush.
Toward the end of the first half, Mid-Prairie took a timeout with 22 seconds on the clock and Pekin facing a fourth-and-14. The Panthers came out of the timeout with a fake punt pass, easily completed. The conversion seemed to sour the Golden Hawks’ mood heading into halftime.
After half, Pekin received the ball and went on a 12-play, 81-yard drive to take a two-score lead.
Mid-Prairie’s next two drives resulted in the second and third interceptions of the night for Brad Tornow and shortly after the start of the fourth quarter Pekin held a 35-7 lead.
The Golden Hawk offense rushed for 106 yards on the night, with Jaron Utzinger leading the Golden Hawks with 62 yards on seven carries. Utzinger rushed all seven times on the final drive of the night, but Mid-Prairie run out of time and the game ended with the Golden Hawks on the Pekin 10-yard line.
The loss pushes Mid-Prairie to an 0-2 start on the season. They host their first home game on Friday against Wilton (2-0).
Mid-Prairie: 0; 7; 0; 0; 7
Pekin: 7; 7; 14; 7; 35
Brad Tornow 2-13 16 yards, 0 TD 3 INT
Vinnie Bowlin 0-1 0 yards
Jaron Utzinger 7-62 yards
Vinnie Bowlin 1-23 yards
Justin Schwartz 9-17 yards
Justin Schwartz 1-9 yards
Jack Baker 1-7 yards
Tom Butters 5-187 yards, 37.4 average, 51 long
Chaz Patterson, 5 tackles, 1 TFL
Micah Gugel, 3.5 tackles 0.5 TFL
Justin Schwartz, 9.5 tackles
Grant Boyse, 7.5 tackles