Luverne Tigers down Flying Squadron in last quarter action

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Luverne Tigers came away with a hard fought area win here last Friday night as they defeated the Flyboys from Highland Home, 27 to 26. The game saw both sides display offensive power and lackluster defense at times.

Highland started the game as they returned the opening kick off back to their 26 yard line. The Squadron wasted little time in going to the air as QB Deymond Sankey hit Cordell Thomas with a three yard pass. The Squadron mounted an eleven-play drive that ended when the Tigers forced a punt, with the aid of a motion penalty.

The punt was a placement kick that sailed down to the Tiger 46 yard line.

The Tigers wasted little time in finding pay dirt as their drive covered 54 yards in only 6 plays. The touchdown came on a 24 yard pass from QB Chad Free to wide out Payton McGhee. Allan Foster came on and kicked the PAT to give the Tigers a quick 7 point lead with 4 minutes left in the first quarter.

The Squadron returned Brezman Lowery's kick off out to the Tiger 48 yard line. From here they started a 10 play drive that covered 52 yards. The TD came on a 5 yard run by Darius Chambers.

Kyle Tucker kicked the extra point to tie the game at 7 all.

Neither the Tigers nor the Squadron could mount any offense until the last 2 minutes of the second quarter.

With a minute and a half left in the first half, the Tigers scored their second TD of the game. It came on a 46 yard pass from Free to McGhee.

Foster again split the uprights to give the Tigers a short-lived 7 point lead.

On their next possession the Squadron took over on their 20 yard line. On the first down, the Tigers were hit with a 15 yard penalty, and on the next play Anthony Merriweather took a hand off from Sankey and raced

65 yards for what should have been the tying score. But the Flyers were hit with a 15 yard penalty in the end zone for an unsportsmanlike penalty and that moved the PAT out 15 extra yards. Tucker's kick sailed wide left and the Tigers held on to a slim I point lead with 1:30 seconds left in the half.

The Tigers started their next drive at the Squadron's 49 after an onsides' kick failed. Instead of resting on their lead, the Tigers tried to add to it. But they turned the ball over to the Squadron at their 41 yard line. It took Sankey only two plays to go the distance as he hit Ken Bailey on a 45 yard scoring pass with 35 seconds left in the half. The run on the PAT failed, but the Squadron had the lead at 19 to 14 as the half ended.

The Tigers started the second half at their 37 yard line and picked up one first down before Fred Hawkins was hit and fumbled. It was recovered by the Squadron at their 43 yard line. The Tiger defense rose to the task and forced a Squadron punt. The Squadron punt pushed the Tigers back to their 17 yard line.

The Flyboys' defense stiffened and forced a Tiger punt not allowing the Tigers to pick up a first down.

Chase Free was called on to punt for the Tigers. The Squadron took over at the Tiger 41 yard line after the punt return by Darius Chambers. Highland Home used only 5 plays to cover the distance. The TD came on a 20 yard pass from Deymond Sankey to Darius Chambers.

The PAT kick by Kyle Tucker was good, and the Squadron had increased the lead over the Tigers, 26 to 14.

The Tigers got the ball at their 49 yard line after Fred Hawkins had a 39 yard kick off return. The Tigers put their offense into high gear as they moved down the field.

On first down, Hawkins got 6 yards behind the Tiger line and then Cory Oliver picked up 16 yards around the right end.

Quarterback Chad Free hit Oliver again with a 12 yard strike to move the ball down to the Squadron 4 yard line. The TD came on a 2 yard run by Free.

Allan Foster came on and split the uprights to bring the Tigers closer to the Squadron, whose lead was now only 5 points, 26 to 21.

The Squadron took over on their 28 yard line for their next possession. They started a drive that lasted 13 plays and covered 36 yards. The big play in the drive for the Tigers was a sack on Sankey for a 7 yard loss on second down late in the drive. This forced him to the air and his last two attempts fell incomplete. After this the Squadron was forced to punt and the Tigers got the ball at their 20 yard line for their first possession of the fourth quarter.

The Tigers stayed on the ground all but one play in the drive as they moved 80 yards in 13 plays. The big play of the drive was a 15 yard run by Narvais Cole as he came in to spell Fred Hawkins who had carried the load for the Tigers in the drive. Two plays later Hawkins returned and quickly gained 17 yards on two carries to move the ball down to the Squadron 1 yard line. The touchdown came on a one yard run by Chad Free behind Davis Lester at center.

The Tigers tried for a two point conversion to increase the lead just in case the Squadron got close enough to go for a field goal. The try failed, but the Tigers had come from 12points down to take a 27 to 26 lead with 1:46 left in the game.

The Squadron took over at their 32 yard line on their last possession of the game, and it ended as Fred Hawkins intercepted a Sankey pass and returned it to the Squadron 36 yard line. The Tigers ran the clock out to preserve their sixth win of the season.

Next week, the Squadron will travel to Reeltown to play the Rebels. The loser of this game is basically out of the playoff picture. If the Squadron can pull off a win and get some help from other teams, it can still host a first round game in the playoff.

The Luverne Tigers will travel to Clayton this Friday night to play Barbour County in another area game. With a win here, the Tigers will clinch a playoff spot.

The Squadron was led on the ground by Anthony Merriweather who gained 92 yards in 6 carries, and Sankey had 31 yards in 18 tries. He was 9 of 18 through the air for 148 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

The Tigers were led on the ground by Fred Hawkins who had 123 yards on 24 carries, and Narvis Cole who had 38 yards in 8 tries. Chad Free was 5 of 11 for 99 yards and two touchdowns and one picked off.

The Tigers were led on defense by Marco Jones with 9 tackles and Josh Kilpatrick with 8.

The Tigers had 287 total yards while the Squadron had 333 total yards. The Tigers had 15 first downs, and the Squadron had 13.