Pi­o­neers over­power Li­ons, ad­vance to open­ing round of state play­offs

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS - MIKE ECKELS meck­els@nwadg.com

GRAVETTE — It was a rough night for Lion foot­ball fans Nov. 2 as Gravette played host to the ri­val Gen­try Pi­o­neers in its 2018 sea­son fi­nale at Lion Sta­dium in Gravette. In the end, the Pi­o­neers dom­i­nated the con­test, even­tu­ally bring­ing home a vic­tory by 26 points over the Li­ons.

Be­fore the start of the game, Gravette se­niors from foot­ball, cheer squad and band were rec­og­nized dur­ing a brief cer­e­mony at mid­field. By the end of the cer­e­mony, a line of se­niors, ac­com­pa­nied by their par­ents, stretched from goal line to goal line. Af­ter a short photo ses­sion, it was time to get down to busi­ness.

The Pi­o­neers quickly gained con­trol of the con­test in the early stages of the first half with a 25yard touch­down run by Beau Tom­lin. Gio­vanni Ramirez’s point af­ter at­tempt split the up­rights, and the Pi­o­neers were ahead by seven.

Mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter, a pass from Gen­try quar­ter­back Bran­don At­wood to Pey­ton Wright re­sulted in the sec­ond touch­down

of the evening for the Pi­o­neers. Once again, Ramirez nailed the point af­ter, giv­ing the Pi­o­neers a 14-0 lead.

With less than three min­utes to play in the first half, a Gen­try drive pushed the ball to the Gravette five-yard line. At­wood at­tempted a pass to Wright in the cor­ner of the end zone. Ma­son Da­gley in­ter­cepted the ball at the Lion one-yard line, halt­ing the Pi­o­neers’ drive. Gravette moved the ball down­field, but time ran out be­fore the team could score, giv­ing the Pi­o­neers a 14-0 lead go­ing into the half­time break.

A touch­down by Wright late in the third quar­ter, cou­pled with a sec­ond to Zack Jar­na­gan early in the fourth, sealed the deal for Gen­try.

Gravette pulled to within the Gen­try four-yard line twice in the sec­ond half, but the goal line stands by the Pi­o­neers held fast, pre­vent­ing the Li­ons from scor­ing. The Gen­try Pi­o­neers pulled off the win, de­feat­ing the Gravette Li­ons, 26-0.

The Gravette Li­ons fin­ish the 2018 sea­son with a 1-9 over­all and 1-6 con­fer­ence record.

The Gen­try Pi­o­neers fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son with 3-7 over­all and 3-4 con­fer­ence records, earn­ing them a num­ber five seed in the state foot­ball play­offs. The Pi­o­neers will face the Mena Bearcats in quad­rant four of the state play­offs on Nov. 9, at 7 p.m., in Mena.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Open wide! Devon El­lis (33) opens his hands wide in or­der to re­ceive a hand­off from Bran­don At­wood (5), who jumps into the air to de­ceive the Lion de­fense dur­ing the Gravette-Gen­try foot­ball con­test at Lion Sta­dium in Gravette Nov. 2.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Pi­o­neers Zack Jar­na­gan (Gen­try 10) flies past Li­ons’ Ta­jae White (left) and Jar­rod Barker (71) on his way to­ward the end zone dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of the Gravette-Gen­try foot­ball game in Gravette Nov. 2. For­tu­nately for the Li­ons, Jar­na­gan was tack­led a few yards later by other Gravette de­fend­ers.

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