Saturday, November 05, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Bison suffer heartbreak to McCrory

Special to The Leader

The Carlisle Bison were unable to defeat the McCrory Jaguars Thursday night at Fred C. Hardke Field to secure the number two seed in the upcoming 2A playoffs, losing 16-14 to draw the number three seed instead. The Bison (6-4,5-3) led at the half, but McCrory scored the only touchdown and two-point conversion of the second half for the victory. Palestine-Wheatley’s loss to Hazen dropped them to the four seed. Carlisle will host Quitman in the first playoff round Friday night.

Carlisle took a 14-8 lead late in the second quarter, and that’s how the score remained for most of the second half. McCrory started its game-winning drive on its own 15-yard line with 5:30 left on the game clock. Yards were hard-fought throughout the game for both teams, but the Jags were able to move the chains four times before busting their biggest play of the game.

Running back Tyler Hall escaped for a 37-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14-14. The two-point conversion was good, and McCrory took a 16-14 lead with only 1:56 left in the contest.

The Bison started their final drive on their own 31-yard line. On fourth and fourteen, a facemask penalty resulted in a first down. Golleher ran 18 yards for another first down, but the Bison were unable to pick up another and turned the ball over on downs with three seconds remaining.

“We didn’t get as lucky that time,” said Carlisle coach Mark Uhiren. “McCrory brought it out the second half, and they earned it, so they got it. Senior night, you don’t ever want to lose it, but we were really wanting to win that game, just for winning the game. That’s a good one to go out on though. It was a good, hard-fought game.”

McCrory had the game’s first possession and moved quickly down the field to score. The Jags picked up three consecutive first downs before quarterback Ken Dewitt took the ball in from ten yards out on a third and one. The two-point conversion was good by Tyler Hall for the early 8-0 lead with 9:37 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Bison responded with a more methodical march down the field on their own 73-yard, 15-play scoring drive. Quarterback Carson Cunningham completed a pass to Ty Golleher for 20 yards early in the drive, and it was Golleher who scored on an 11-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion was no good, and the score was 8-6 with 2:20 to go in the quarter.

The Bison defense forced two punts, and the offense turned the ball over on downs before either team was able to score again. The second McCrory punt pinned Carlisle back on its own 11-yard line. Devon Kendrick carried the ball four yards to the 15-yard line, and on the next play, Golleher broke free and out-ran everyone for an 85-yard touchdown scamper. Golleher was also good for the two-point conversion to give the Bison the 14-8 lead with 2:57 remaining until intermission.

Carlisle was forced to punt on the first possession of the second half. A sack of Dewitt by Kendrick caused a Jaguar fumble. McCrory recovered, but for a big loss. On the ensuing punt, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Bison good field position on their own 45-yard line. Carlisle moved the ball very close to a first down, but the measurement was just short, and the ball went over on downs.

Carlisle ended the night with 321 yards of offense, while the Bison defense held McCrory to just 206 total yards. Golleher led the Bison with 31 carries for 188 yards, two touchdowns, and one two-point conversion. Kendrick rushed ten times for 96 yards.