Talk about bad draws.
The Jonathan Alder football team getting defending state champion Bishop Hartley Friday night, Nov. 4 in the first round of the Division IV, Region 14 playoffs was kind of like getting stuck with the table by the kitchen at a fancy restaurant.
What would normally be a desirable experience being ruined by constant chatter and traffic coming and going from the employees behind. For the Pioneers (9-2) all the noise was coming from the opposite stands and the traffic coming and going was the work of talented ball carrier Marquette Dixon who rushed for more than 350 yards and five touchdowns.
Hartley (9-2) carved up the Pioneers defense in the first quarter, scoring on its first three drives all on runs by Dixon and the visitors served up a season-ending defeat to the Pioneers 35-21.
Alder fought to the very end rallying to make it a game in the fourth quarter. A short scoring run by Austin Fooce in the fourth quarter and a recovered onside kick by Bryan Blacka made it interesting. But a fourth-and-one at the Hawks 7-yard line the Pioneers were unable to pick up the critical first down.
“It was hard to adjust to that offense,” Glass said. “Our kids adjusted to it and made it a game. Our kids went head-to-head with one of the best teams in the state, one of the best programs in the entire state. These kids were down 21-0 and could have been one of those 56-0 games they put on people. But our kids battled and battled and battled.
“I’m so proud of each and every one of our kids.”
After the initial rush which saw Hartley go up 21-0, the Alder defense settled down and tightened up. The potent Hawks were unable to move the ball and went scoreless on its final four possessions of the half.
The Pioneers were in position to make some noise in the beginning of the second half. They got the ball to start the half but went three-and-out and punted it away.
The Hawks needed all of two plays before Dixon took a toss and sprinted past the Alder defense for a 67-yard scoring run. His fourth score of the game.
Alder’s Bryan Blacka scooped up a fumble late in the third quarter and returned it to near midfield. Four plays later Preston Eisnaugle lofted a pass down the sideline and Andrew Koenig made an acrobatic catch over two defenders and tip-toed along the sideline and into the end zone on a play that covered 47 yards.
The score closed the gap to 28-14. But as he did many times on Friday, Dixon answered with a 29-yard scoring run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Alder’s fortunes got off to a bad start. Hartley scored on its first possession a 4-play, 67-yard drive. The Pioneers had the ball less than a minute going a quick three-and-out. The Hawks quick-strike attack produced a 54-yard touchdown run by Dixon just three plays later. That tally made it 14-0 before the Pioneers had run their fourth play.
Alder got to within striking range but turned the ball over on downs late in the first quarter. The Pioneers had another promising drive that reached the Hartley 7-yard line in the second quarter. But instead of kicking the field goal they were stopped and turned the ball over on downs.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.