It’s an impressive feat when a football player plays both offense and defense, particularly at the Class 5 level.
Truman has its fair share of players who do so.
However, it’s physically taxing, and at times can show up late in games, particularly against opponents who don’t.
The Patriots led St. Joseph Central 14-7 entering the fourth Friday at home.
They had just completed a 13-play drive during the third that burned more than eight minutes off the clock and saw five players carry the ball, with junior Andrew Owens scoring his second touchdown of the night on a 2-yard run.
But Truman’s defense couldn’t stop Central running back Hunter Madison in the final frame and the offense couldn’t reproduce its drive from the third as it fell 21-14 to the Indians.
“Our guys played tremendously hard,” Truman coach Charlie Pugh said. “I was really proud of our effort. We got a bit tired at the end, but we battled and this was the best game we’ve played of the season.”
No one on Truman made excuses, but both Pugh and some players noted many of the Patriots playing both ways takes a toll.
“In the fourth it definitely affects you,” senior wide receiver-defensive back Aaron Lehman said. “It really tires the guys who play both ways down, but we just have to stick to the game plan and play our best throughout. We played tough the whole game. We just had a few mistakes like any team has.”
Added Pugh: “Where we’re at right now, we have to have guys play both ways. It definitely shows up in the fourth and catches up to us, but we still feel like we could’ve done some things.”
Of Central’s two scoring drives during the fourth, Madison carried the ball all but one of 20 plays and finished the game with 34 carries for 185 yards.
“(Madison) has been our workhorse,” Central coach Andy Ball said. “We ride him a lot anyway, but we had to do something different in the fourth as throwing on them was really hard. So we decided to get big and try to stay with our bread and butter and we had to keep feeding the horse.”
Madison capped off an 86-yard drive where he carried the ball 11 times in a row with a 4-yard TD to tie the game, then scored the winning touchdown from the 3 with 90 seconds left.
“He did a good job squeezing through the line,” Pugh said. “There were times where I thought we had him, but he bounced off some tackles, made some plays and he was shifty. He’s a good football player.”
Central (2-4) scored on the game’s opening drive when Max Conrad connected with Will Austin on a 19-yard touchdown pass.
Truman (1-5) answered later in the first when Andrew Owens shedded several tackles and broke free for a 42-yard TD run.
“I just saw an open gap and said, ‘I’ll take it,’ and it was going to take an army to take me down,” Owens said.
Both defenses ruled the contest until Truman’s time-consuming drive in the third.
Owens finished the game accounting for the majority of the Patriots offense with 135 yards rushing on 18 carries.
“Coming in we were short on running backs and had to improvise with the personnel we had,” Owens said. “I was willing to come out and do that. I run for my team, run for my family and run for the fans in the stands. Football is everything I’ve got.”
Though a loss never feels good for any program, Pugh noted Truman continues to head in the right direction.
“It’s tough to see these guys put so much effort into it and not get a win,” he said. “We’ll watch film as a team and we’ll see everything that we’ve improved on, which is very encouraging. That’s what I told them. You just want to win these games.”
PEMBROKE HILL 33, VAN HORN 32: Terrion Seddens had Van Horn in position to win.
But the Falcons have up two touchdowns in the final 6 1/2 minutes as Pembroke Hill rallied from a 32-20 deficit to claim a 33-32 win Friday night at Independence All-School Stadium.
The Falcons nearly rallied again. An Evan Neal reception gave the Falcons the ball on the Raiders’ 4 -yard line with four seconds left, but they couldn’t punch it in on the final play and fell to 3-3 overall.
Seddens led the rally for Van Horn. Trailing 20-13 in the third quarter, Seddens reeled off touchdown runs of 46 and 35 yards to put the Falcons ahead 25-20.
Seddens then caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Shaun Ross with 11:26 left to extend the lead to 32-20. The Falcons, though, missed four of five conversions after touchdowns and it ultimately cost them.
The Falcons took a 13-7 lead in the first half on a Ross TD run and Neal’s 57-yard scoring pass from Ross, but Pembroke Hill took a 14-13 lead with a touchdown and an extra point with 5:13 left in the half.