The Thayer Bobcats were hoping to end the 2003 season on a positive note by snapping a four-game losing streak and notching their first win in district play on the year.
The Pierce City Eagles had other ideas as they used a stout ground game, helped by some timely turnovers and a few costly penalties by the Bobcats, to end the year with a 40-12 victory at Thayer.
The first series for each squad ended with a turnover, as Thayer's Andrew Eckman was picked off on the Bobcat's second play from scrimmage, a favor repaid minutes later as Thayer forced an Eagle fumble on Pierce City's first offensive series with Cody Hollis recovering the ball to set up a Bobcat score.
Eckman made amends with his interception by connecting with Brett Ward for a 3-yard TD at the 6:23 point of the first quarter to stake Thayer to a 6-0 lead. The two-point conversion was stopped by the Eagles.
Pierce City took the ensuing kickoff and moved 75 yards downfield in 14 plays, all on the ground, scoring on a quarterback dive from Brandon Lathem with 21 seconds left in the first. Ward blocked the PAT attempt to leave the score locked at 6-all.
The Eagles struck quickly in the second quarter, four plays in, to grab the lead on a 2-yard run by Ken Tidwell at the 10:15 mark. The two-point conversion was denied, leaving Pierce City up 12-6.
A big defensive play by the Eagles set up their next score midway into the quarter.
Pinned deep in their own territory by an Eagles' punt, coupled with a holding penalty, the Bobcats were looking at first-and-10 at their own 2-yard line.
Eckman took the snap in the end zone and the Eagles blitzed, knocking the ball loose and falling on it for an easy touchdown with 4:21 left until halftime.
Thayer shook off that blunder by posting their second score of the game late in the second.
On third-and-10 from the Eagle 31, Eckman handed the ball to Justin White, who handed it to Ward on a reverse, who hit John Tollenaar in the end zone for a 31-yard TD pass, razzle-dazzle style. The two-point conversion was no good, leaving the Bobcats trailing 18-12 with 2:41 on the clock.
This was just enough time for Pierce City to log one more score before the break.
Brian Abramovitz zig-zagged his way into the end zone from 34 yards out to give the Eagles a 26-12 advantage at the half.
The Bobcat defense stiffened in the third quarter by holding the Eagles scoreless in the frame.
Pierce City did add a pair of scores in the last quarter as a season's worth of injuries continued to keep the Bobcats from mounting a major response to the Eagles' scoring.
Lathem hit Tommy Cahalan for a 12-yard TD strike at the 9:50 point of the third, and then Lathem ran in the Eagles' last touchdown of the evening with 5:10 left to play as Pierce City ended Thayer's season with a 40-12 Eagle victory.
The Bobcats finish the year with a 4-6 mark, 0-3 in district play.