Special to the Grove Sun
GENTRY-It took two days and a monsoon to finish the Colcord/Gentry football game that commenced on Thursday night at Pioneer Field. And by the end of day two it was the home team that got away with the narrow 12-6 victory.
Everything appeared to be a go for a full night of football at the beginning of the 7:00 kickoff on Thursday. But a gathering storm in the northwestern sky would soon have its way with the evening’s festivities.
The Pioneers received the opening kickoff and set up their first offensive series on the 35. Gentry stayed on the ground for most of the possession with their 222lb. senior running back Eathen Ramsey doing the bulk of the work. After picking up a first down, the Pioneers went to the air and crossed into Hornet territory on a 16-yard Austin Millsap (12 of 21 for 139 yards) to Dylan Ochs completion.
But the Colcord defense held for three consecutive snaps. And when the Pioneers went for it on a fourth down, Darwin Davis dumped the runner for a loss to give his team their first offensive series of the season. But the Hornets were unable to move the sticks and punted the ball away.
Gentry’s offense fumbled the ball back into the hands of the visitors inside the 30-yard line. But the first of a series of holding calls backed the Hornet offense up and they were forced to punt. Following the short kick, the home team offense set up shop inside their own 35. After a holding flag backed them up 10 yards, the Pioneers went back to the air. And on the next play, Millsap found his wide receiver Tanner Morgan for a 64-yard reception.
Colcord’s Chance Staneart made the TD saving tackle inside the 5, but the home team would eventually get on the scoreboard on a 3-yard Millsap to Scherer pass. The PAT kick was blocked, also by Staneart, giving Gentry a 6-0 edge.
The two squads exchanged possessions than ended in a punt. On the Pioneers’ next series the Hornet defense took over. After Staneart and Jake Swicegood dumped Millsap for a 4-yard sack, Gentry went back to the air. And that is where Staneart picked off the Millsap pass on the 33, with 4:33 to play in the half.
With the storm clouds becoming increasingly ominous and lightening flashing throughout the area, the game officials opted to remove the teams from the playing field. Both teams remained in their respective locker rooms while torrential rains inundated everything in its path. After a nearly two-hour delay, it was decided that the game would begin where it had left off on Friday night.
On Friday the game resumed where it had left off. And the Hornet offense, on the heels of a pair of big runs by quarterback Canaan Sherrell appeared to be on the march. But three, that’s right three, holding flags on the same series kept Colcord out of the end zone as the first half came to a conclusion.
The Hornets received the second half kick, where Sherrell got the opportunity to show off his speed. Fielding the kick, the quick senior rolled for an 80-yard return to the Gentry 12. This, however would be the Pioneers’ best defensive stand of the night. The big Gentry interior and a pair of rolling snaps shutdown the Colcord running game, and denied them the end zone, by taking over on downs.
Again, the teams traded offensive possessions with the Pioneers improving their field position. Taking control at midfield, Gentry put together their final scoring drive, using a 25-yard Millsap to Morgan pass for a 1st and goal at the six.
A personal foul eventually backed the Pioneers up to the 17, but a breakdown in defensive coverage saw Gentry’s Justin Stewart all alone in the end zone. Millsap made the easy toss to his receiver to double their lead to 12.
With time winding down in the third, the Hornets put together the best drive of the night. Starting on their own 45, Colcord churned out 13 snaps and moved the sticks three times. With big receptions by Rusty James and Chris Aguilar, for 15 and 14 yards respectively, the visitors marched to the two. On his second keeper, Sherrell stretched across the goal line with 9:57 remaining in the game. The two point pass attempt failed for a 12-6 score.
The Pioneers were unable to do anything on their next offensive series and punted the ball away. An illegal blocking infraction backed the Hornets up to their 15. And despite a 20 yard Sherrell to James reception, Colcord eventually had to relinquish the ball with a punt. Gentry went three and out to give the ball back to the Hornets, with 5:59 to play. And for all intents and purposes, it appeared that with momentum clearly in their favor, the Hornets were going to make things interesting. Burning most of the remaining clock, Colcord put together nine plays and moved the chains twice. But the Gentry defense stood strong to eventually take over on downs and ice the opener.
Following the game Colcord Coach Bud Simmons opined that, “I feel terrible for the kids. I feel like they played hard enough to win, but that’s football. The team did improve from one night to the next. This was a good game to prepare for the tough district.”
Gentry 12, Colcord 6
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Colcord 0 0 0 6 6
Gentry 6 0 6 0 12
G: Scherer 3 yard pass from Millsap (PAT kick failed)
G: Stewart 17 yard pass from Millsap (2-PT pass attempt failed)
C: Sherrell 1 yard run (2-PT pass attempt failed)