A costly turnover in the waning seconds once again wiped out a chance at a Massac County win as the Herrin Tigers held on for a two point 28-26 win last Friday.
While the game was another heart-breaker, the pain felt by the players after the last horn was miniscule when compared to what some of the honorees of the 'Pink Out Cancer Night" post- game ceremony have witnessed and felt.
Massac County players wore jerseys with names of cancer victims they wished to honor on their backs. After the game, the honorees, or their representatives, were presented the jerseys by the players.
Now for the game. Herrin and Massac were tied at seven after one period of play. Herrin stretched the lead to 21-14 by halftime in an action packed second quarter.
Massac received the kick to start the second half but ran into some penalty issues and had to punt. Herrin capitalized by punching in another score at the 4:22 mark of the third.
That score doubled up Massac and things weren't looking all that sporty through three frames. Massac was on the move at the end of the third quarter and Blake Baird broke a nice 22-yard touchdown run as the final quarter began. A two-point conversion run failed and the score stood at 28-20.
Herrin's next possession brought out the best in Massac's defense as David Thompson, Nate Jackson and Jody Dumpprope all turned in huge plays for the Patriots. Thompson got a big rush on Herrin's QB for a loss and Jackson and Dumpprope combined to knock the ball loose on another big hit with Dumpprope scooping up the loose ball and racing to the end zone. The two-point attempt failed again and Massac trailed by only two.
Massac's defense held again on Herrin's next possession and Massac was in business with just under four minutes to go. But a fumble by Massac gave Herrin the ball back and now all the pressure in the world was on Massac's defense.
Dumpprope and Co. came up big again giving the Pats one last chance with 1:48 left. A couple of punishing runs by 'DJ' Thompson opened what was supposed to be the last drive of the game but a blown play and a bad exchange resulted in a loose ball that Herrin was all over and the time on the clock was erased by two Herrin "kneel downs."
It must be said that senior quarterback Bruce Neill was on the bench with an injury for most of the final quarter and his replacement had been spot on until that final play. A spate of early penalties and the ongoing problem of turnovers were the only blemishes against the Pats in this one, but they again proved deadly.
Once again the Pats were formidable on the ground gaining 312 yards with three rushing touchdowns. Thompson gained 110 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown, Baird gained 142 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns and Nate Jackson and Jody Dumpprope combined for 50 yards on six carries.
Up next for Massac is a road game at Benton.