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Scrappy Eagle team drops heartbreaker

Three leaders march out to the meeting in the center of the field, surveying the damage done to the broken landscape. It is half time. The game is close, and the stakes are high.

Sixteen players suited up for the Sept. 24 battle with the Coast Union Broncos; only fourteen of them left the field without injury.

After marching down the field to pound in a touchdown, the Eagles were off to a quick start in the first quarter. The Broncos matched them gain for gain though, and by halftime Coast led 14-7.

Despite injuries and loads of penalties, the Eagles picked up the pace in the fourth quarter.

“The team showed amazing character,” quarterback Carson Belmont, ’05, said. “There were so many times when we could have given up, so many times that all the momentum left us. What matters is that we kept going and will continue to fight until the season is over.”

Despite playing with heart, the Eagles were trailing by two touchdowns by the fourth quarter. The Eagles managed to put 14 points on the board while holding the Broncos at a stalemate. The Eagles were back in the game.

With just a little over three minutes remaining in the game, the scoreboard showed Home–21, Away–20. All the Eagles had to do now was keep the ball long enough to run the clock down.

But after three quick plays, the Eagles punted the ball away. The Broncos took care of business and brought it straight back into Eagle territory. On a second down, the Eagles knew something had to happen. Defensive lineman Jordan Hogue, ’06, tore through the blockers and recovered a fumble.

“It was time to just take care of business,” Jon Hall, head coach, said. “We had two minutes left, and we had the ball. We knew what to do.”

The Eagles drove far into enemy territory. Hall saw the opportunity and went for the win. But Belmont’s pass to Nate King, ’05, glanced off his fingers and fell into the wrong hands.

After that the Eagles could not quite stop the Broncos, who capped a 56-yard drive with a touchdown. The game was over.

“We reviewed their plays all week,” Rob Foshee, defensive coordinator, said. “We knew exactly what was supposed to come and weren’t surprised when it did. The problem was that we just couldn’t quite do the things we needed to.”

The Eagle offense seemed to abandon their reputation for long sustained drives, and the game was dominated by breakthroughs made by running backs Tyler Charest, ?05, who gained 135 yards on 18 carries, and King, who had 58 yards on 11 carries.

For the offense lineman, the loss left their hearts, as well as their stomachs, empty. Every week the offensive linemen get to share a pizza for every hundred yards the offense gets.

“We had 299 yards this week,” lineman Tim Wilborn, ’06, said. “If we could have had that one more yard, we would have had a whole third pizza. That 99 yards just didn’t cut it.”

One more yard might have changed a lot of things. One more yard on any of the third or fourth downs the Eagles gave up would have meant precious time slipping away from the Broncos. One more yard could have given a different outcome to the game that many believe the Eagles should have won.

The Eagles host Fowler at 7:30 P.M. at Clark Intermediate in downtown Clovis on Oct.1.

Student Leadership will be sponsoring a Kids Karnival during the game. Over 60 elementary students participated in the annual Kid’s Karnival last year. A bounce house, face painting, snacks and a dunk-tank will highlight the night’s activities.

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