The 8th Grade Football Team traveled that “long and winding road,” to Rocksprings Thursday to take on the Angoras. The Punchers hoped to continue their winning streak but they knew their work was cut out for them.
In the first period both teams knocked heads but neither were able to score. The Puncher offense moved the ball well but were turned back on two different occasions. Rocksprings challenged to the Puncher 25 yard line but good defensive play stopped them. Defensive linemen, Austin Eckert, Kolby Yonker, and Eric Martinez did a good job containing the line of scrimmage, and the Angoras had a hard time running between the tackles.
In period two the Angoras launched a 53 yard drive that ended with a nice screen pass that put 7 points on the board and the Punchers found themselves having to regroup at half time.
The opening kickoff of the second half changed the tide of momentum when Tanner Dutton received the kick on his own 27 yard line but found he couldn’t get to the wall that had been set by his linemen. Dutton dipped to his own 15 yard line then turned up the field. After breaking three tackles Dutton went the distance for the score. The PAT failed and the score was 6-7.
The 4th period was no time to go to the concession because the Punchers were ready to play some serious defense. The Angoras found little yardage to be made running the ball inside due to some great defense by linebackers, Zane Graves and Tanner Dutton, as well as defensive ends, Jacoby Patterson and Brandon McGowan. Our secondary did a good job by turning back pass after pass. Secondary standouts were, Rio Schmidt, Raul Silguero, Elliot Bibb, Zack Bjork, Forrest Lingle, and Dale Cunningham. Twice the Angoras pushed the ball inside the Puncher’s 30 yard line but the drives were ended on downs. When the Punchers finally took possession on offense, Cunningham tossed a screen to running back Zane Graves, and Graves then followed the blocking of Eric Martinez, Kolby Yonker, and Matt Clark which ended in a 48 yard gain. The play came to an end on the Rocksprings 10 yard line. The next play Cunningham set up a nice pass and catch on the throwback to Tanner Dutton for the score. Rio Schmidt tacked on the PAT and the Punchers were ahead 14-7.
Rocksprings took the following kickoff to mid-field, then pushed the ball on the next three plays to the Puncher 10 yard line. The Angoras found that the Punchers were not going to allow their lead to be taken away. Defensive ends, Patterson and McGowan placed a lot of heat on their scrambling quarterback, and Graves, Schmidt, Cunningham, and Simon made several game saving tackles. On 4th and goal from the Puncher two yard line, the Angoras found a wall of Punchers that refused to give up the line of scrimmage. The Punchers took possession of the ball from their own 1 yard line, controlled the line of scrimmage and ran out the clock for the victory.
I can’t say enough about the “will to win” that our guys demonstrated both on offense and defense. They came from behind late in the fourth quarter then protected their lead all the way down to the 1 yard line. Every player gave all that they had in this game. The Punchers will host the Junction Eagles this Thursday in the Puncherdome with the 7th grade kick-off at 5:00, followed by the 8th grade at 6:30.