Como-Pickton makes it two in a row

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Sept. 23, 2007 - BETTIE - The Como-Pickton Eagles played the role of spoiler Friday night with a 33-28 victory against the Union Hill Bulldogs on homecoming at Bulldog Stadium.

"It made it that much more great because those guys did not want to lose and we did not want to lose," CPHS sophomore quarterback Austin Darby said. "This game was a clash, and we stepped up and we were the better team tonight.

"We can beat anybody and anything can happen. We have come back in the past two straight games at halftime, and if we step up we can beat anybody right now."

Darby completed 60 percent of his passes finishing 6-of-10 for 104 yards and one interception, while also rushing for 26 yards on seven carries and three touchdowns. The Eagles had completions to six different receivers as Aaron Kramer led the way with two catches for 40 yards.

"We never had any doubts about Austin coming into the game tonight," C-P head coach Paul Tullis said. "Austin is a winner and he is going to give it everything that he's got and he will do everything he can to win the game."

Darby said after losing starting senior quarterback Noe Tellez to a injured finger on the opening series he knew it was time for him to lead the Eagle offense.

"When Noe went out, I knew that I had to step up and help out my team," he said. "Coach (Ryan) Aguirre told me if I had those touchdown runs to take them, and I took them tonight."

Darby scored all three of his touchdowns from a yard out and sealed the victory with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Eagles went on a 10-play, 77-yard drive and capitalized on a second-and-2 from the 22-yard line with an end-around by Brandt Steele for 21 yards. Steele finished with four carries for 30 yards.

"We put the reverse in this week and ran it once during the first half and once during the second half and it really worked out well for us," Tullis said.

In the first half, the Eagles started slow after coming off a bye week as they had five penalties for offside or illegal procedure in the first half. Three of those penalties came on their second drive of the game.

Como-Pickton was able to put points on the board during that drive as Darby scored his first touchdown on a quarterback sneak. Tellez knocked through one of his three extra points to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 5:51 remaining.

On the Bulldogs' next offensive possession, Maurice Moore caught a 68-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Andy Schmidt, capping off a two-play, 70-yard drive to cut the Eagle lead to 7-6. The Bulldogs went for two but were stopped short.

The Eagles then answered back on their next possession as James Carter rumbled 58 yards down to the Bulldogs 12-yard line. Two plays later Mitch Lowe scored his first touchdown of the season on a 3-yard run for a 13-6 lead after the first quarter of play.

In the second quarter, Moore gave the Bulldogs a 14-13 lead on a 28-yard touchdown scamper and then scored on the two-point conversion. He finished the game with 21 carries for 125 yards and one touchdown rushing.

"We were focused and nobody doubted that we weren't going to come back at the half," Darby said. "We knew that we were going to, and we all had our heads up high and knew that we were going to come back in the game."

Tullis said with the team down 14-13 at the half, the coaching staff figured out what adjustments needed to be made and put together the right game plan heading into the second half.

"As coaches, we have all been around long enough to where we look at it that we can't ride our emotions too high," he said. "As a coach, we have to be focused and thoughtful and try to figure out what you can do to make the adjustments in the second half ,and we did that tonight."

On the Bulldogs' opening possession of the second half, Moore broke free down the UH sideline and went 28-yards down to the Eagles 14 before Juan Batista was able to knock him out of bounds and save a touchdown.

Four plays later, the Bulldogs took a seven-point lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Schmidt to Blake Sanders with 8:37 remaining. The two-point conversion failed leaving the score at 20-13.

Darby cut the deficit to 20-19 on Como-Pickton's next drive as he capped off an 11-play, 66-yard drive with another 1-yard run up the middle and then their attempt for the two-point conversion failed.

Union Hill extended the lead back to nine as Schmidt scored his first rushing touchdown of the game on a 30-yard option and then converted the two-point conversion with 3:13 remaining.

"I can't say enough about Union Hill because they came out and played hard. It was a war from the start to the end and I have been telling my guys all week and all year long since I got the job that we are not going to have any easy games," Tullis said. "We are going to have to go out there and fight. It is going to be a war to the end and we are going to have to find a way to get the job done."

The Eagles gained the momentum heading into the fourth quarter as Aaron Kramer caught a nifty 31-yard touchdown reception from Darby down the Como-Pickton sideline for a 28-26 deficit heading into the final quarter.

Tullis said it was important to keep control of the football on their final touchdown drive as the Eagles had nine rushes to only one pass for the game-winning drive.

"That has been our game plan all year long since we are under-athletic on defense," the coach said. " We have to scrape and fight through on defense so the longer our offense is on the field the better off we are."

With one final chance to take the win for the Bulldogs, Schmidt connected with Moore on a 26-yard completion as the ball was placed on the Eagles 40-yard line. After an incomplete pass, Lowe was able to get into the Bulldogs' backfield and sack Schmidt for a 10-yard loss with under a minute remaining to seal the victory for the Eagles.

The Eagles were led offensively by James Carter, who finished with 17 carries for 139 yards, an average of 8.2 yards per carry.

With the win, the Eagles are now 2-1 on the year and will travel to Quinlan for a matchup against the Boles Hornets (3-0) next Friday night. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

"I think we need to try and be focused and stay positive heading into next week," CPHS first-year coach Paul Tullis said. "I haven't seen anything on Boles yet. They are a good team, and I think they will be better this year."

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