The game was billed as physical and punishing, and it lived up to the hype. A handful of plays decided a defensive struggle Friday night as #5 Mediapolis beat #7 Mid-Prairie 12-10 at Archer Field in Mediapolis. Neither team got anything going in the first quarter, leaving the game at a scoreless tie after the first 12 minutes. In the second quarter it was Mid-Prairie who was first to mount a drive taking the ball into the red zone for the first time, with first and goal to go only to be turned away. The Hawks had first and goal at the Bulldog eight with two minutes left in the half but a holding penalty put them behind the chains. On third and goal from the MEPO 12 the Golden Hawks tried some trickery with a wide receiver pass from Austin Errthum. The ball was thrown into coverage and intercepted in the endzone. Mediapolis took the mistake and made Mid-Prairie pay. After a run on first down from the 20 that went no where the Bulldogs went 80 yards in just three plays to put six on the board when Drew Foster hooked up with Seth Beitz making it 6-0 Bulldogs going to the break.
The third quarter mirrored the first with neither team being able to sustain a drive. Midway through the fourth quarter the Hawks got the offense going again with an impressive 12 play 77 yard drive that Errthum capped with a 30 yard field goal to cut the lead to 6-3 with seven minutes left in the game. Following the kickoff Mid-Prairie had Mediapolis backed up to third and eight from inside their own 20. Foster found his favorite target Beitz again for a 34 yard gain to move the chains. Mediapolis used that momentum to drive the field with Foster sneaking in from one yard out to make it 12-3. In hurry up mode Mid-Prairie took the ball 65 yards on seven plays right back in under 90 seconds and got within 12-10 when Reid Miller found Canaan Powell in the corner of the endzone. Mid-Prairie’s onside kick attempt was then recovered by the Bulldogs and MEPO was able to kneel out the clock.
The Golden Hawks had their chances on the night outgaining MEPO on the ground 135-119 and through the air 145-111. Mid-Prairie had an extra red zone chance and were six of 13 on third down. Two Mid-Prairie turnovers and a couple of lapses in secondary coverage came back to hurt the Golden Hawks. Following the game Head Coach Pete Cavanagh talked about his team’s chances during the game and their performance.
“We just have to shore up the mistakes, we’ve been talking about it all year, we got away with it in the Tipton game, got away with in the L-M game and we just ran out of chances tonight,” Cavanagh said. “I have to coach better, I don’t think I called a good game, and we just need to step up and make plays when they’re needed, like the end of the first half, and the last drive on their part, but our kids are resilient, they’re not going to hang their heads, we’ll get back after it, we just have to win our next two games and see where the playoff seedings lie and see what happens.”
Individually Mid-Prairie was led by Eesaa Baylor’s 136 yards on 26 carries. Reid Miller was 17 of 24 through the air for 145 yards and a TD. With the win Mediapolis puts a stranglehold on the district lead and remains unbeaten on the year. Mid-Prairie falls to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in district. Mid-Prairie will next be in action Friday night at home against West Burlington Notre Dame.