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After their first drive of the second half a 30-yard field goal from Terrhyn Jacoby cut the West Liberty lead to 6-3 with 9:01 left in the third quarter and put the Golden Hawks in a good position to potentially win the game.
From there West Liberty ran the ball over and over and blew the game wide open before winning 34-3.
“Some of it is fatigue and I think some of it is just lack of mental toughness right now,” Mid-Prairie coach Pete Cavanagh said. “We’ve got some guys hurt and what not but it’s just disappointing that we didn’t have these guys ready to play tonight. I thought we were flat from the start and that’s on us as coaches.”
The first half saw a stout Mid-Prairie defense give up only six points to the Comets due to key plays in the red zone. After giving up big yardage plays, the defense made plays when they needed to and forced a turnover on downs on the 13-yard line in the first quarter and a 27-yard field goal attempt by West Liberty was no good due to the holder bobbling the snap and being tackled in the backfield.
While the defense made big plays early, the offense had theirs called back. Multiple first downs that would have kept drives alive. After West Liberty took the lead on a 44-yard Joe Kelley touchdown the Mid-Prairie offense was moving the ball.
The drive started with a quarterback Brad Tornow pass to Justin Schwartz for 30 yards to put them on the West Liberty 35-yard line. Then on first down, a holding penalty set them back and a third down false start put the third down line to gain 20-yards away. What was a potential scoring drive ended with a fourth down incompletion.
The game was the first start for sophomore Brad Tornow who was 6-13 for 42 yards and one interception on the night. Usual starter Karson Gingerich was injured during their Week 2 matchup against Washington and since then both Tornow and Grant Boyse have battled for the starting spot.
“Our plan at the beginning of the night was to play both but we felt Brad was in a good rhythm and wanted to keep him in there, and Grant is very capable too so they’re both working hard there,” Cavanagh said.
He said Tornow did a lot of what the coaching staff asked of him and made some good throws on the night.
“I thought he did a pretty good job of managing it and had some good throws and we just didn’t execute on the blocking and catching,” Cavanagh said.
Gingerich is likely to be in a walking boot for at least one more week with a high ankle sprain according to Cavanagh.
Boyse entered the game late and went 1-5 for six yards passing, but many of those were deep passes downfield on their last drives.
During the game Mid-Prairie coaches yelled “energy” at their players from the sideline in an attempt to combat the team coming out flat and stop the West Liberty rushing attack. Eventually it just wasn’t enough as West Liberty had two 100-plus yard rushers on the night.
Tanner Iske rushed 10 times for 160 yards and one touchdown and Joe Kelley rushed 18 times for 188 yards and one touchdown. A big reason Iske had such a high average were a few long runs and missed Mid-Prairie tackles.
“That’s inexcusable, we just have to get better at it and there’s no reason that should happen,” Cavanagh said.
The Mid-Prairie offense did have some bright spots on the night, in particular on a drive late in the first half where they went to more of a hurry-up offense.
“We always have it ready for situations like that and I thought giving it a little tempo might help us a little bit, and I thought it did,” Cavanagh said.
Mid-Prairie also had some success rushing the ball during the game as Keaton Duwa finished with 146 yards on 19 rushes, a 7.7 yards per carry average.
For their homecoming contest the Golden Hawks will face off against Mount Vernon.
West Liberty: Joe Kelley 44-yard rush (2-pt conversion failed), 6-0 1:24
Mid-Prairie: Terrhyn Jacoby 29-yard field goal, 6-3 9:01
West Liberty: Seth Feldman 7-yard rush (kick good), 13-3 6:14
West Liberty: Tanner Iske 7-yard rush (kick good), 20-3 1:52
West Liberty: Andrew Lenz 20-yard pass from Feldman (kick good), 27-3 5:28
West Liberty: Feldman 40-yard rush (kick good), 34-3 3:13
Brad Tornow, 6-13, 42 yards, 1 INT
Grant Boyse, 1-5, 6 yards
Keaton Duwa 19 rush 146 yards
Tornow 5 rush 27 yards
Justin Schwartz 4 rec 49 yards
Jack Baker 1 rec 6 yards
Terrhyn Jacoby 1-1, 30 yards