Defense shines for Golden Hawks

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 9/30/20

Mid-Prairie’s defense drove home a message early in its game last Friday night against second-ranked and District 2A-7 rival Williamsburg.

Facing a second-and-1 play at the Mid-Prairie …

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Defense shines for Golden Hawks

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Mid-Prairie’s defense drove home a message early in its game last Friday night against second-ranked and District 2A-7 rival Williamsburg.

Facing a second-and-1 play at the Mid-Prairie 37=yard line on the opening drive of the night, Williamsburg predictably put the ball in the hands of dependable senior running back Riley Holt. The Golden Hawks drove him back for a three-yard loss.

They snuffed out the Raiders’ first possession. And then the Hawks stopped them again on a fourth-down try at the Mid-Prairie 16 on Williamsburg’s second possession.

The Raiders, who had won their first four games and averaged more than 42 points over three consecutive games, had run into a worthy force.

“I thought our defense played lights out,” Mid-Prairie coach Pete Cavanagh said.

When Williamsburg scored its first points in a 24-8 victory, the touchdown came on a return of a blocked punt.

The Raiders’ offense, settling for a field goal in the second quarter and being held out of the end zone in one complete half for the first time this season, finally scored a touchdown in the third quarter. After being backed up into their own end for major chunks of the game, the numbers finally caught up with the Hawks. But not without an effort that included a game-leading 10.5 tackles by Mid-Prairie junior Justice Jones.

Ben Meader had six tackles and 2.5 quarterback sacks. Vinnie Bowlin added 6.5 tackles.

“We played well,” Cavanagh said of the Golden Hawks’ defense. “We gave them (the Raiders) a short field on the punt situation twice. We turned the ball over a couple of times. It seemed like we were playing on their end of the field a lot, so I thought our defense played really well.”

The blocked punt return for a touchdown broke a string of 10 scoreless quarters the Golden Hawks had built up since the final quarter of a season-opening loss to Class 1A power Sigourney Keota.

Mid-Prairie held Williamsburg to under 200 rushing yards, led by Holt’s 129 yards on 16 carries. Williamsburg quarterback Levi Weldon was held to 8 completions and 104 yards, and was intercepted once by Nathan Quinby.

The defensive effort followed two consecutive games in which the Golden Hawks drove Central Lee and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont into negative rushing totals.

Next up for the Hawks is Belle Plaine, a Class A replacement for District 2A-7 opponent Davis County, which is not playing due to a COVID-19 issue.

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