THAYER 42, PIERCE CITY 14
There's only one way to get the bad taste of a heartbreaking loss out your mouth.
All you have to do is just line up the next week and hammer your opponent into the ground.
Sounds simple, right?
Well that's exactly how the Thayer Bobcats got over a disappointing loss to Houston last week. They just lined up and smashed the Pierce City Eagles 42-14 at Louis Bozman Stadium Sept. 16.
And while the Bobcat offense finally got past the boiling point by showing the promise it had reached the first two weeks of the season, as Thayer exploded for four first-half touchdowns, it was the Cat defense that looked especially stout against a very dangerous Pierce City team that had put 35 points on the board the previous week.
"This was a big win for us," said Bobcat head Coach Billy Webber. "It gives us some confidence back after the Houston loss. I told our guys after that game, 'We had it in the bag, but we just didn't get the bag tied,' so a win like this is really good."
Getting a big push from its defensive line, Thayer (2-1) held the Eagles (2-1) to one first down and 11 yards of total offense in the first half of play. For the night, the Eagles spent much of their time on offense looking at the shadows of their own goal posts.
"Our defense has played well the first three weeks of the season," Webber said. "They're really coming together as a unit, and hopefully they will continue to play well. Pierce City has some good runners, and we kind of held them in check."
It didn't look like the Bobcats would have their most dominating showing of the year the way they started off the clash with the Eagles.
A Thayer fumble on its first possession of the night gave the ball to Pierce City at its own 20-yard line.
This is the moment that the Eagles found out just how stiff the Bobcat defense would be on this night.
One play later, the Cats got the ball back as Michael Lowther recovered an Eagle fumble at the Pierce City 25-yard line.
A couple of plays later, quarterback Brett Ward hit wideout John Tollenaar (six catches, 101 yards) on an 11-yard TD pass at the 7:11 point of the first quarter. Ward then lobbed the ball to Tollenaar for the successful 2-point conversion to put Thayer up 8-0.
Thayer's defense stepped to the forefront once again in the first as Ethan Gaines hopped on a Pierce City fumble, giving the ball back to the Bobcats.
Although they couldn't cash in on this gift, the Bobcats did strike again at the 9:35 mark of the second, as Lowther (128 yards rushing) followed Dustin Gaines (74 yards rushing) around the left side of the Eagle defense for a 9-yard TD. The 2-point conversion came up short, but Thayer led 14-zip.
For the game, the Bobcats rolled out 410 yards of offense.
"Our backs did a good job of running to daylight," said Webber. "The offensive line has been getting off the ball and really attacking the defensive line and staying with their blocks long enough to give our running backs some good lanes to hit, and they're hitting them hard."
Another Eagle turnover, a fumble recovered by Cody Ary, set up the Cats' next score of the second quarter.
Ward rolled out and found Tollenaar again, this time for an 18-yard scoring strike that came at the 5:40 mark. Jacob Eckman ran the 2-point conversion in to push Thayer on top 22-0.
After Luke Martin recorded a big sack of the Eagle quarterback on Pierce City's next offensive series, Thayer stuck the dagger in once more before the half.
Lowther scampered 34 yards for a TD on second-and-1 with 3:00 left until intermission, staking his squad to a 28-0 advantage after one half of play.
The Bobcats continued to pour it on in the third, as John Barnett intercepted a Pierce City pass to set up another Thayer touchdown.
One play after Barnett's pick, Ward connected with Tollenaar for the third time on the night, this time on a 29-yard score with 25 ticks left in the third. Lowther caught the 2-point conversion from Ward, and Thayer held a 36-point lead.
The Eagles took advantage of the remaining time left on the third-quarter clock with a big special teams' play.
Pierce City's Michael Sloan took the ensuing Bobcat kick and ran it back 85 yards for the Eagles' first TD of the night, coming with 11 seconds left in the quarter. The 2-point conversion made the score 36-8, Thayer.
Desperate to get their hands back on the ball, the Eagles attempted an on-sides kick, but Jason White recovered the ball for the Cats at the end of the third.
A couple of plays into the final frame, Ward blasted across the goal line from seven yards out for Thayer's last touchdown of the night. The PAT was no good, leaving the Bobcats on top 42-8.
Pierce City's last TD came against the Bobcat reserve squad with 9:30 left in the game. Cody Latham wrapped up a four-play, 60-yard drive by scoring on a 2-yard run to round out the final score of Thayer 42, Pierce City 14.