The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
The West Prairie-La Harpe Cyclones fell to the Alwood-ROWVA Bulldogs 26-14 last Friday night at Oneida. The tough loss drops the Cyclones to 4-5 for the 2006 season and keeps WP-LH from securing a possible play-off berth, thus ending their season.
West Prairie-La Harpe went on the road to Oneida and found out quickly why Alwood-ROWVA is undefeated. The Bulldogs scored on the game's second snap from scrimmage in taking a quick 7-0 lead on a 62 yard dash by their QB.
The Cyclones responded however by taking advantage of a 55 yard punt return by senior standout Joel DeCounter to score late in the first period. DeCounter's 3 yard run finished a short drive to the end zone and classmate Matt Woolam's successful PAT kick knotted the score at 7 all.
A-R showed their mettle by scoring twice in the 2nd frame to take a 19-7 lead into the halftime break. A broken tackle led to a Bulldog TD run and a nice screen play produced the other A-R score.
WP-LH stopped both PAT attempts to send the teams into the intermission with A-R up 19-7.
WP-LH came out of the break inspired on defense and held the Bulldogs to only 68 yards of offense the 2nd half.This gave the Cyclone offense an opportunity to try to get back into game, which they did with a late 3rd quarter TD.
This time the score came on a 73 yard TD pass from junior QB Bryan Rodeffer to classmate Skyler Pence. Woolam added the PAT kick to bring WP-LH to within 5 points at 19-14.
The Cyclone defense got the ball back for the WP-LH offense again shortly thereafter but, the Cyclones couldn't muster anything positive. Unfortunately for WP-LH, the ensuing punt was returned 55 yards for a score by the Bulldogs. That gave A-R a 26-14 advantage with about 9 minutes to go.
The Cyclones continued to fight hard and made a couple of deep thrusts back into Bulldog territory. The Bulldog defense, however, was able to turn WP-LH away on both occasions and eventually secured the hard fought 12 point win.
WP-LH probably gave their best effort of the year, but it wasn't enough against the state's 7th ranked team (Class 2-A).
The Cyclones gained 228 yards in this contest and found the going very tough on the ground. WP-LH was able to only gain 101 yards on the ground on 34 attempts. Rodeffer led the way with 57 yards, while the Bulldog defense keyed on Cyclone top rusher, Joel DeCounter (35 yards on 6 attempts). Woolam, Kylen Carpenter, and Daniel Patterson also found the going very difficult in limited attempts.
The Cyclone pass attack tried to pick up the offensive slack and did gain 127 yards. Rodeffer completed 7 of his 18 pass attempts, including the big touchdown to Pence. He did suffer 3 interceptions and was rushed very hard by the Bulldog's front 8.
Pence ended up with 2 catches for 80 yards, DeCounter had 3 grabs for 31 yards, Kylen Carpenter had a nifty grab for a 13 yard pickup, and Woolam had a single catch for 3 yards.
The Cyclone defense held the Bulldogs well under their season averages for both rushing and passing. Woolam, DeCounter, Pence, Evan Wisely, Dustin Derry, and Brytton Mason all finished with 5 tackles or more.
Also on the tackle chart were Jared Schwerer, Daniel Patterson, Blake Harper, Dakota Hicks, Carpenter, Tyler Sharpe, Jason Coplan, Lance Ward, Derrick Daudelin, Brice James, and Michael Lafferty.
Wisely, Derry, Schwerer, Mason, Woolam, and DeCounter were all involved in tackles for loss in this game. Pence nabbed his 7th interception of the year (14th in two years) to stop one A-R drive. Pence now tops the team's career interception list with his 14 picks.
Speaking of team records, DeCounter's TD was his 51st career score. His 312 career points are a co-op career record total. He also finishes his high school gridiron career #2 overall in rushing yards with 2582 yards.
The Cyclones finish 2006 at 4-5 overall. They also finish at 3-3 in the newly formed West Prairie Trail North Conference.
Although this is a disappointing conclusion to the season it does not reflect the effort and class shown by the members of this year's squad. They always represented our schools and communities in the highest manner and should be commended for their efforts.