Bobcats win thriller against the Eagles to advance in playoffs
The Thayer Bobcats (11-1 overall and 6-1 in district) defeated the Pierce City Eagles in Thayer on a cold Friday, November 15, on a soggy field. It may be a while before fans see another game with such a “nail-biter” finish. The Bobcats advanced and now meet the Valle Catholic Eagles (Ste. Genevieve, Missouri) in the Missouri Class 1 football playoffs. Both teams come into the game with 11-1 records. On November 15, the Eagles defeated Hayti (Missouri) 43-6. Thayer’s lone loss (12-6) came on October 11 at Ava. Valle Catholic’s loss came at home on September 13 to Caruthersville (Missouri) 38-35. The Eagles recorded two shutouts for the season and won most of its games by a comfortable margin. The Bobcats had shutouts in three games for the season. Both teams defeated Hayti during the season.
Thayer received the opening kickoff. After making a first down, Thayer punted. The Eagles took over on their own 14-yard line. After several plays and a couple of first downs, Chanse Ford had a 48-yard run for a touchdown with the extra point successful. The Eagles led 7-0 with 6:33 remaining in the first quarter.
After drives stalled for both teams, Thayer had the football on Pierce City’s 46-yard line. After the Bobcats moved the football down field, Jordan Madden scored on a three-yard run with 34.9 seconds remaining in the first half. With the point after successful by Kale Willison, the score was tied 7-7 at halftime.
At the 6:07 mark in the third quarter, Madden scored again on a 5-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful to put Thayer a 13-7 lead. With four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Pierce City had a second down on the Thayer 15-yard line. The Bobcats’ Griffin Willison tackled an Eagle back for a loss. Pierce City faced third down on the Thayer 17-yard line. With approximately three minutes to go, the Eagles had a fourth down on the Bobcats 16-yard line and failed to make the first down. The football went over on downs to the Bobcats on the Thayer 16-yard line. Thayer had a second down on its 20-yard line. Thayer then made a first down with a minute to go in the third quarter with the football on its own 46-yard line. Thayer had a third down on its 46-yard line with under a minute remaining in the third quarter. Thayer quarterback completed a long pass to Jesse White, and the Bobcats had the football on Pierce City’s 44-yard line. The third quarter ended with Thayer leading Pierce City 13-7.
With 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Thayer had the football with a second down on the Pierce City 37-yard line. Thayer struck for a first down on the Eagles 25-yard line. Pierce City’s Dominick Smith made a tackle for a loss. Thayer was facing fourth down on the Eagles 25-yard line with 10 minutes remaining. Thayer turned to football over on downs to Pierce City on Pierce City’s 21-yard line. With nine minutes to go, Thayer’s Cody Brosh sacked the Eagles quarterback at Pierce City’s 23-yard line. With eight minutes to go, Madden intercepted a Pierce City pass, and Thayer had the football on Pierce City’s 23-yard line. With eight minutes to go, the Eagles had the football on their own 28-yard line. With seven minutes remaining, the Bobcats’ Madden had a long run to the Pierce City 21-yard line. With six minutes to go, Haven completed a 27-yard pass to Madden for a Thayer touchdown. A pass attempt for two points after the touchdown was unsuccessful. Thayer led 19-7.
With time running out on the Eagles, they took to the air. With around six minutes remaining, Pierce City had a third down on the Thayer 44 yard-line. On fourth down and five minutes remaining, and with Pierce City on the Thayer 44-yard line, the Eagles’ Colten O’Hara completed a long pass to Trey Sagehorn, and the football was on Thayer’s 30-yard line. With 4:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, O’Hara completed another pass to Trey Sagehorn with this one for a touchdown. The point after attempt was successful, and Thayer led 19-14. With around four minutes remaining, Thayer had a third down with the ball on the Bobcats 26-yard line.
On third-and-goal with 1:19 left, the Eagles’ O’Hara hit Trenton Kluck to give Pierce City a 20-19 lead. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful; so; the Eagles had a one-point lead at this point.
Thayer’s Kale Willison lined up to attempt a field goal with 6.3 seconds remaining in the game. The field goal was successful, and the Bobcats won the game 22-20 in a thriller that will likely be talked about for a number of years.
For the game, Thayer complete 9 passes out of 19 attempts for 140 yards. Pierce City completed 8 passes out of 17 attempted for 113 yards. The Bobcats rushed 46 times for 137 yards for an approximate 3-yard per rush average. The Eagles rushed 31 times for 122 yards for a 3.9 yard per carry average. Both teams had balanced attacks as the Bobcats passed for three yards more than they gained rushing, and the Eagles rushed for nine yards more than the team rushed. Thayer gained 277 total yards for the game, and Pierce City had 235 total yards. The Bobcats outgained the Eagles by 42 yards.
Thayer had 14 first downs to Pierce City’s 9. The Bobcats had 2 turnovers to the Eagles 1. Thayer was penalized 8 times for 70 yards, and Pierce City was also flagged 8 seven times for 75 yards. For this game, the statistical closeness was reflected in the final score.
On offense, Jace Haven rushed 16 times for 43 yards and was downed in the backfield for a total loss of 27 yards (16 yards net). He completed 9 passes out of 19 attempts for 140 yards. Jordan Madden rushed 11 times for 40 yards net. Logan Doss rushed 18 times for 76 yards net. Madden caught 5 passes for 81 yards. Jesse White had one reception for 16 yards. Arthur Tate caught 2 passes for 29 yards. Logan Doss had one reception for 14 yards.
With the limited offense in the game, the Thayer defense was very active. Griffin Willison led the Bobcats with 14 tackles (7 solo and 7 assists). Madden had 11 tackles (7 solo and 4 assists). Austin Green had 10 tackles (7 solo and 3 assists). Haven had 9 (7 solo and 2 assists). Pitts had 8 tackles (5 solo and 3 assists). Grimes had 7 tackles (3 solo and 4 assists). Cody Brosh (4 solo and 2 assists) and Tate (3 solo and 3 assists) had six each.