The Piper Pirates held on for a hard fought 21-14 victory over the Lansing Lions Friday in the pairs' Kaw Valley League match up.
It was homecoming for the Lions with all the pomp and ceremony one could want. And on top of that, the game was even better. The Lions started the scoring at 5:20 in the first quarter when on their opening drive, Lucas Mein scored on a two-yard touchdown run.
The Lions mixed up its play calling during the drive, which was helped by a roughing the kicker penalty. Brad Brown was good on the PAT to make the score 7-0.
Piper came right back on to tie the game when at 2:45 in the first quarter Colton Beebe scored on a 12-yard run right up the middle. Jose Mejia split the uprights to make it 7-7.
The Lions answered, driving the ball 63 yards. The series was keyed by Christian Porter, who was bottled up in the backfield before rumbling down field for 48 yards. The final 12 yards were covered by Mein, who scored his second touchdown of the game with 8:26 remaining in the half. Brown was true again making the score 14-7.
Piper clawed back, though, with a 60 yard drive of its own. Matt McDonald scored on an 11-yard run. Piper coach Chris Brindle of the Pirates was pleased with his rotation of running backs.
"We have a really good three back balance," Brindle said. "They all have their own strengths, so with Beebe, (Paul) Jones, and McDonald, we have some inside and some outside running versatility".
In the third quarter, McDonald scored his second touchdown on a seven-yard run. One of the key plays in that drive was a swing pass from quarterback Tanner Eikenbary to Jones out of the backfield. Mejia converted again making the score 21-14.
From there the teams went battled for field position. With 5:38 left in the game, Piper tried to run out the clock. The Lion defense lead by seniors Chase Taylor and Elijah Parks forced a turnover on downs, however, as a Prates fourth down attempt came up short.
Lansing then had the ball on their own 22-yard line with 30 seconds left in the game. Lions coach Bill Pekarek, reached into his bag of tricks and called a double reverse pass, that moved the ball to mid-field.
Lion quarterback Krystian Abbott then hit Elijah Parks over the middle and he brought the ball to the Piper 14-yard line. With just seven seconds left, Abbott tried a pass for the corner of the end zone, but it was tipped away. The clock had seven-tenths of second remaining when the Lions tried one more pass for the tie, yet it was knocked away as well.
Lansing, 0-5, will travel to play Bishop Ward Friday at 7 p.m.