The Van-Far/Community R-VI football team entered last Friday night’s game with Mark Twain hoping to pick up a win that might clinch for them a home district game and the No. 4 seed in districts.
Unfortunately, the Tigers, who scored 13 points or less in five games this year, had plans to ruin the Indians’ hopes on Mark Twain’s Senior Night.
Mark Twain led by 11 at halftime and never looked back in a 35-14 victory.
“There are two things you want to have in a ball game and that’s blocking and tackling and we didn’t do either one,” said Van-Far/Community R-VI head coach Kevin Baldwin.
It appeared the Indians were going keep early momentum in the loss.
On Mark Twain’s second play of the game, Treyson Culwell knocked the ball out of the hands of a Tigers’ running back and recovered a fumble on Mark Twain’s 29.
The Indians moved the ball down to the Tigers’ two yard line when a tackle for a loss set up a fourth and goal on the three.
Unfortunately, Parker Wallace was stopped just short of the goal line.
Mark Twain took over the momentum of the game and didn’t give it up for most of the contest.
They marched 98 yards on 10 plays and scored on an eight-yard touchdown run. A successful extra-point kick gave them a 7-0 lead.
On the Indians next possession, Eric Hombs fumbled the ball away on the Indians’ own 44.
Seven plays later, the Tigers added a 32-yard touchdown run. Nathan Beatty blocked the extra-point kick to keep the score at 13-0.
The Indians defense stepped up to force a turnover on downs at midfield in just four plays.
Hombs had a seven-yard run and Colten Jensen added a nine-yard run on a 50-yard drive.
Hombs scored on a 28-yard touchdown run. His two-point run closed the gap to 13-8.
Mark Twain’s offense responded by scoring just two minutes later on a 22-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 20-8.
Hombs’ pass was intercepted just before halftime to end a late Indians’ drive near midfield.
In the first half, the Indians had just 76 total yards of offense to Mark Twain’s 203 yards.
Van-Far/Community R-VI came out of halftime ready to fire at all cylinders.
Jensen returned the opening kickoff down the sideline for a 79-yard touchdown run to close the gap to 20-14.
After the defense forced a Tigers’ punt that was booted 72 yards and went into the end zone, the Indians’ offense started a long, methodical drive.
Hombs completed a pass to Brayden Christian, who made an acrobatic catch for an nine-yard gain to pick up a big first down.
The Indians took seven minutes off the clock but were forced to punt.
Mark Twain responded with a 74-yard drive that ended on an 11-yard touchdown run for a 26-14 lead.
Wallace had a 39-yard run to help the Indians make a big push on their next possession inside the red zone.
After Hombs completed a short pass to Jensen for a two-yard loss, a personal foul penalty was called for a late hit.
But instead of the Indians receiving a first down, officials said they marked the penalty for yardage and had the Indians repeat third down.
Hombs through an incomplete pass on fourth down at the 10 to end their threat.
With several holding penalties missed on the Tigers’ next drive, Mark Twain had a 49-yard run, a 31-yard run, and a two-yard touchdown run pushing their lead to 35-14. On the very next play, Hombs fumbled the ball to seal the Indians’ fate.
The Indians had 44 yards passing and 155 on the ground for 199 yards.
Meanwhile, Mark Twain had 45 yards passing and 357 on the ground for 402 total yards of offense.
Hombs completed 6-of-11 passes for 44 yards and one interception. He also had 13 carries for 49 yards, one touchdown, and two fumbles.
Wallace added 20 carries for 87 yards.
Jensen, along with his punt return for a touchdown, had seven carries for 15 yards and two catches for -2 yards.
Christian had one catch for nine yards while Verlyn Johnson had two catches for nine yards.
The Indians will take on South Callaway at home this Friday night at 7 p.m.
South Callaway’s only loss this season came against North Callaway, 33-29. They beat Bowling Green last week, 47-12.