Piper rallies for OT win over Bonner Springs
By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
Piper head coach Chris Brindle may need a heart transplant to get through the rest of the year.
“I’m getting too old for this,” he said.
To be fair, the drama that went down Friday night at Piper High School between the host Pirates and visiting Bonner Springs would have taken a lot of a younger soul.
Piper used a late safety and a goal line stand in to earn a 29-23 overtime win over the Braves to stay unbeaten in the Kaw Valley Conference race.
“It was such an emotional game. It was almost a supercharged game between two teams trying to take their programs to the next level,” Brindle explained. “I tip my hat to (Bonner Springs). They took every blow we could give them.
“This may be the biggest regular season game I’ve been apart of.”
And for good reason.
The Pirates fired their cannons early with senior running back Paul Jones taking the opening kickoff back for an 88-yard touchdown to put Piper up 7-0 early. Bonner Springs would answer back after picking off Pirates quarterback Tanner Eikenbary with a 5-yard run by quarterback Jordan Jackson aided by two Piper penalties. The point-after would fail, however, allowing the Pirates to keep a 7-6 lead. It did not hold up for long, though.
The Braves would again be helped by penalties on their next drive, as two personal fouls bailed out a third down incompletion. Three Jackson runs (and a failed two-point conversion) later, Bonner Springs would hold a 12-7 lead.
Piper would shoot themselves in the foot again, this time on a high snap, giving the ball back to the Braves on the 18-yard line. Jackson would then find Thaddeus Glenn wide open in the endzone for his first completion of the game. Add in his second completion of the game, and the Braves would open up a 20-7 lead.
Piper would not fold, using another good kickoff return and a 1-yard touchdown run from Matt McDonald to pull back within six.
“The way we’ve been playing lately, the guys felt they were down 20 at halftime,” Brindle said. “I was really impressed with the guys’ mental toughness tonight, overcoming the issues and learning how to handle difficult situations.”
The Pirates adjusted early, holding the Braves to a three-and-out and taking the ensuing drive into the endzone, capped off by a 36-yard pitch-tip-and-catch to bring the take lead by one again.
The Braves would steal the lead back with a 37-yard field goal by Jason VanMaren with 11:15 left in the fourth. But that’s when things got interesting.
Piper would take the ball down to the Bonner Springs 5-yard line, but the Braves would hold on 4th and 1 to take possession. After a false start, Jackson would take the ball in his own endzone and be taken down by the Pirates defense to tie the game with 6:18 left.
A couple of stalled drives later, the game would go to overtime.
Piper would get the first chance to get on the board, but it did not start off well, as Eikenbary would be sacked for a loss of nine. He would turn around and throw a 19-yard pass to Sean Eskina to put the Pirates up by six. Things turned downright movie script-esque when Piper would miss the extra point wide left.
The Braves would put the ball in Jackson’s hands, and it seemed like it would be the right call, getting them down to the one yard line. Jackson would be reach the ball just shy of the goal line on third down, and on fourth down, he would line up under center for the quarterback sneak. But the Pirates stuffed him one yard shy and ran off to celebrate with the home crowd.
“It was very emotional for us, being such a big game,” McDonald said. “Our morale is through the roof right now. It just made us that much more confidant seeing that we could pull out the win in such a difficult situation.”
For Bonner Springs, it was tough game to see go into the loss column, their first of the year.
“Obviously we can get better, but I think it’s a win for us,” head coach Lucas Aslin said. “We seemed like we won everything except the scoreboard tonight. Our kids played great, we saw some situations we haven’t seen before, and we had a good scheme on defense tonight. It just didn’t add up.”
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