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Against a bigger, more experienced team, the Eminence Warriors held their ground for one half in the Class A Playoffs Friday night.
But the Bellevue Tigers’ superior size and strength took a toll on the Warriors in the second half as Bellevue pulled away for a 48-8 victory. Bellevue, now 7-4, will travel to Frankfort for the second round against the 10-1 Panthers.
Eminence’s season ends at 7-4.
The Warriors took the opening kickoff and found the going rough against a tough Tiger defensive line. After three plays the Warriors were forced to punt. Bellevue took over at their own 31-yard line and immediately ripped off a 12-yard run. On the next play Tigers’ running back Dylan Huff found a hole and gained another 7 yards, but the Warriors stripped him of the ball at the end of the run and Curtis Barrett recovered to give the Warriors possession at the 50-yard line.
The Warriors again failed to move the football and after losing yardage were forced to punt.
Bellevue took over on the 50, and marched downfield with a strong inside running game, scoring from three yards out. The 2-point conversion pass failed and with 5:00 minutes left in the first quarter the Warriors trailed 6-0.
The Warriors responded to the score with their best offensive possession of the game. They started the drive on their own 19-yard line and lost 2 yards.
Justin Mitchell hit DeMarcus Bailey with a 20-yard pass to jump-start the offense and send the Warriors toward the goal line.
Another key play on the drive came at 4th and 7 from the Warriors’ 40-yard line. Bellevue was caught off guard when the Warriors decided to go for it on fourth down and Justin Mitchell hit Brandon Mitchell for an 18-yard gain to keep the drive alive.
The Warriors’ drive was nearly derailed when Bellevue intercepted a Mitchell pass, but a roughing the passer penalty negated the interception and gave the Warriors 15 yards and first down.
After a 5-yard run by Daishon Moore, Mitchell hit Bailey with a 21-yard touchdown pass. Shelby Armstrong caught the 2-point conversion pass and the Warriors were up 8-6 as time expired in the first quarter.
The Tigers immediately responded with a short 7-play scoring drive that started at their own 42-yard line. Huff scored from 3 yards out after reeling off several long runs on the drive to make it 12-7. The Tigers again failed on the 2-point conversion attempt.
After another short Eminence possession, Bellevue took over on their own 34-yard line and quickly marched down the field again. The big play on the drive was a 31-yard pass to the 2-yard line. It was the Tigers’ first completion of the game and caught the Warriors off guard. The Tigers’ strong inside running game seemed sure to score again, but the Warriors’ defense stiffened and held them out on their first three attempts to run it up the middle for the score.
But on 4th and inches, Huff dove to score, putting the Tigers up 18-8; their conversion attempt failed.
After halftime Bellevue took the opening kickoff and scored quickly as Huff went for 59 yards with 10:32 to go. The Tigers converted the 2 points on a pass play and led 26-8.
The Warriors began to drive the ball on their next possession, but again, the Tigers’ defense was too much and the Warriors ended up losing the ball on downs after reaching the Tigers’ 37-yard line.
Bellevue scored again on a short drive that lasted just 3 plays. Huff scored again -this time from 31 yards out. The conversion pass made it Bellevue 34-8 with 5:03 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Warriors tried to respond with a long drive. This one started from their 29-yard line and reached all the way to the Tigers’ 12-yard line but an illegal block penalty set the Warriors back to the 27-yard line. At that point the Tigers’ defense stopped the Warriors momentum with a tackle for loss and a sack of Justin Mitchell on fourth down that lost 18 yards.
Bellevue added a touchdown with 8:17 remaining and a final score just 3 minutes later to make the score 48-8. The Warriors never seriously threatened the Tigers’ goal line the rest of the game.
“They had a senior dominated line and fewer kids going both ways and it really showed in the second half, especially with the style of play that they have with pounding the football, coach Steve Frommeyer said after the game.
“All things considered, I think, especially the first half, our kids competed and really came to play. Justin Mitchell played his best game as far as poise and leadership. I was pleased with the way he handled the pressure of their line and made plays on the run.”
Frommeyer was happy with the play of his four seniors.
“I was really impressed and pleased with the seniors and their approach to the game and their leadership at the end of the season,” he said.
Frommeyer felt that the season went surprisingly well.
“At the beginning of the year, with the uncertainty at quarterback and a very young line there was concern that we could keep our winning tradition alive. They also had to face other adversity along the way and for them to finish 7-3 in the regular season was a tremendous accomplishment.
As a result, with only four seniors we are very optimistic about the next couple of years. Our schedule is going to be a little tougher next year but with 20 of 24 players returning and a good 8th grade class coming back and our starting QB coming back those are huge factors in our favor.”
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