The McClain Tigers traveled to Eastern Pike High School under the Friday night lights to face the Eagles of Eastern Pike for week five of high school football. Perfect weather, a great Tiger crowd and a spirited McClain band helped set the tone for 42-20 victory as they took the field, dressed in their white, away uniforms to kick off to the Eagles.
Both teams entered the game with a record of 1-3 with the Tigers winning against Zane Trace at Zane Trace High School in week 3 and the Eagles picking up a win against Manchester.
Bergstrom started the contest by kicking the ball deep to #2 Logan Clemmons, who was stopped after a short run back. Eastern’s scout team was on as the Eagles came out running the ball, easily churning up yardage. Eastern’s opening drive culminated with a 5 yard run for a touchdown. They elected to try a two point conversion that failed, opening the score at 6-0, Eagles.
After the Eagles kickoff went out of bounds, McClain took their first possession on their own 35 yard line and, with runs from #12 Blake Gall and #17 Matt Bliss, the Tigers marched down the field. Bliss eventually took it in from the 15 yard line. Bergstrom hit the extra point and the Tigers led 7-6.
Eastern started their second offensive possession on their own 40 yard line. The Eagles quarterback, #3 Wyatt Hines, managed the drive of mostly runs down to the Greenfield 17 yard line. On 1st & 10, Hines’ pass was intercepted by #3 Landon Eubanks of McClain at the two, who ran it back the length of the field to the Eagles 28 yard line. Greenfield was back in business. With time running out in the first quarter, #9 Jaydon Burns and Bliss alternated carries down to the 9 yard line, where the first quarter ended.
The first play of the second quarter saw Burns grab the ball from starting quarterback #5 Sam Faulconer and bulk his way 9 yards for the score. Bergstrom was true with the extra point making the score 14-6 Tigers with 11:53 left until halftime.
Bergstrom’s kickoff pinned the Eagles deep in their own territory again as they started their drive at the 25. After picking up a first down to the 36 yard line, Clemmons’ pass was again intercepted, this time by the Tiger’s #26 Grant Pennington at the Eagle’s 45. The Tigers could not take advantage of the gift though as as three runs and a false start penalty produced no yards. Bergstrom punted the ball away the the Eagles 21 yard line.
The Eagles returned the favor with a quick three and out and a punt of their own, still not getting the ball off their side of the field as Greenfield took over on the Eagle’s 45 yard line.
The drive started with a rumble as McClain fumbled the ball on first down. After recovering the loose ball and a couple lackluster plays, they faced a quick fourth down, which saw Coach Jake Orr-Zody give the green light to his offense. The give to Bliss on fourth was successful with Bliss picking up the yardage. Again, though, the offense sputtered and after getting the ball to the 17, once again faced 4th & 3. The Tigers line up to go on fourth again but this time the Eagles jumped offsides, giving McClain the first down at the 12 yard line. Faulconer fumbled the snap losing yardage on first down. Gall runs on second down and Faulconer throws on third down to #35 Alex Snyder for a 15 yard touchdown pass. Bergstrom’s point after put the Tigers up 21-6 with 51 seconds remaining in the half. The half ended on a short pass and exciting run by the Eagles #7 who almost took it in for the score as time expired.
Greenfield received the second half kickoff and after a six play drive stalled, punted the ball away. Eastern moved the ball nicely to the Greenfield 23 yard line. On 2nd &17 Hines’ pass was intercepted in the end zone by Bliss and brought out to the 15 yard line. Again, the Tigers third interception was wasted as they went nowhere in three plays and punted. Two plays later, Hines’ pass to #7 was good for fifty yards and a score. This time the Eagle’s two point conversion was good making the score 21-14 Tigers.
McClain started their drive, after a short kickoff, at their own 41 yard line. This time a sustained drive with five runs by Burns and two keepers by Faulconer proved effective with Burns getting the TD from the 3 yard line. The kick was good giving the Tigers a 28-14 lead with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Bergstrom’s kick went out of bounds, starting the Eagles at their own 35 yard line. Quickly moving the ball with a mix of runs and passes, Eastern scored a touchdown. Not converting the two point conversion made it 28-20 with 1:18 left in the third quarter. The quarter ended with Greenfield again fumbling the ball and recovering their own fumble.
The fourth quarter saw the Tiger’s Jaydon Burns shine. He opened up the first drive of the quarter with eight runs in a ten play drive. Bliss punched it in from the 14 yard line, putting the Tigers up another score. Bergstrom’s point after added one more as the scoreboard read 35-20 Tigers lead. Eastern would not score any more in the half and Burns would bull his way over the Eagle’s defense, getting his own touchdown with 4:34 left. Quinton Smith picked off an Eagle’s pass down the stretch and Bergstrom was perfect on the night kicking six extra points and the Tigers win easily at Easter Pike with a final score of 42-20.
Coach Orr-Zody commented after the game, “When you are able to run the ball like we did and move the chains, good things are going to happen.”
Greenfield wins their second game of the season putting their record at 2-3.
Next week the Tigers will be hosted by Jackson.