Early in the second half of their game against Paris, the Eminence Warriors were down 22-0.
Then Eminence outpaced Paris 38-26. But a buzzer-beating touchdown pass foiled the Warriors, and Paris won the game 42-38.
Eminence took the lead in the game late on Brandon Mitchell’s third touchdown reception of the night with 1:01 left in the game.
After Mitchell’s reception, the Greyhounds took possession near midfield and after a long pass completion, nearly blew the opportunity to win the game. A pass attempt ended with a penalty on the Greyhounds, but Paris kept digging and finally made it to the Warriors’ 9-yard line.
On the final play of the game, the Greyhounds scored on a pass play in which the receiver came wide open as the final second ticked off the clock.
The high octane second half was a direct contrast to the first, where neither team had much luck finding the end zone until Paris broke through with 6:05 remaining on a 45-yard run. The conversion run succeeded, and Paris led 8-0.
On their next possession, the Greyhounds marched down the field on a long drive and scored from 5 yards out with 2:14 to go in the half. Paris ran in the conversion again to go into halftime leading 16-0.
The Warrior faithful got a scare at halftime as lineman Cory Roberts was taken off the field on a stretcher and taken by EMS to the hospital. Coach Steve Frommeyer later reported that the injury was a medium-grade concussion with no other injury involved. While Roberts is in doubt for the next game, he should be cleared to play in the finale against Clinton County, barring any setbacks. “It was his first and hopefully last, concussion so he should recover fairly quickly,” Frommeyer said.
When play resumed it seemed that the halftime scene affected the Warriors. The Greyhounds took the kickoff return for a touchdown to go up 22-0.
The Warriors quickly recovered and began their comeback.
Justin Mitchell hit Brandon Mitchell for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 9:30 remaining to narrow the gap to 16 points.
Shelby Armstrong then picked off a Greyhound pass and returned about 50 yards for the second Warrior touchdown in less than two minutes. With 7:56 to go in the third quarter, the Warriors had closed the gap to 10 points.
Paris stretched it back to 16 points with a 6-yard TD run at 6:59.
Justin Mitchell then hooked up with DeMarcus Bailey with 1:59 remaining in the quarter to make it 28-18.
And they weren’t finished.
Daishon Moore scooped up a Paris fumble and ran the ball 35 yards into the end zone with 44 seconds to go in the third. Mitchell found Jalen Dixie in the end zone on the 2-point conversion to make it 28-26 going into the 4th quarter.
But Paris fought right back and scored on a 24-yard run at the 10:43 mark and added two points on a conversion run to make the score 36-26.
Eminence failed to score on their next possession and Paris worked the inside running game to try and eat up clock. It seemed to work as the Warriors did not get another chance at the end zone until four minutes remained in the game.
The Warriors calmly and efficiently drove down field before Justin Mitchell found his brother Brandon down field, where Brandon eluded tacklers to find the end zone. The play covered 18 yards. The conversion run was no good and left the Warriors trailing by 4 points with just under two minutes remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, it was clear that Warriors would try an onsides kick. Paris sent their “hands” team onto the field to try and prevent a Warrior recovery but they failed as the Warriors recovered the kick and were back in business near midfield.
After a couple of short pass plays moved the Warriors into position the Mitchell-to-Mitchell connection clicked again as Brandon took a short pass and weaved his way through defenders to find the end zone once more. The pass play covered 22 yards and gave the Warriors their first lead of the game at 38-36.
But the possession took just 46 seconds off the clock, and Paris went on to their own heroic drive to break the hearts of the Warriors and their fans.
Frommeyer said the defense was left short-handed on the closing drive.
“We have dealt with the same issue we always do with our numbers,” he said. “We had guys dropping like flies with injuries and on the last drive we had three guys playing out of position on defense because of the injuries.”
Frommeyer thought special teams hurt and helped his team in different phases of the game. “They had two long kickoff returns, which really hurt us,” he said, “But we had an important onside kick recovery and Brandon and DeMarcus did a great job punting and pinning them back to get us good field position. ”
Frommeyer was disappointed with the loss but not with his team’s second half effort. “I was really pleased with the way we came back in the second half,” he said. “It was our biggest comeback in a long time. It was a lot like the Oyler game. If you take out one of four or five really bad plays we win the game.”
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