Pirates Suffer Tough Loss To Busters After Hot Start
September 15, 2018
INDEPENDENCE, Kan – Coming off a bye week, the #13 Independence Pirates were rested and prepared for a top-notch showdown with the #7 Garden City BroncBusters. The Pirates led by as much 18 points, but failure to convert opportunities and capitalize on Garden City miscues caused Independence to be outscored 25-0.
"We failed to make plays down the stretch and it showed with our performance tonight," coach Jason Brown said. "We're still at a crossroads with trying to find a quarterback and we'll start working on that tomorrow."
"The second half kickoff killed us and that's really what took us out of it for a while. After that, our defense played very well but offensively we just weren't able to capitalize on opportunities and we just have to figure things out and prepare for Fort Scott next week."
In the first quarter, quarterback Malik Henry completed a 69-yard bomb to Markiese King on the first play. Ryan Redman's extra point sailed through and the Pirates led 7-0 with 14:42 left in the opening period.
Garden City's first drive was shut down as Jermaine Johnson recorded two huge tackles and the Pirates regained possession. A hand off from Jay Jones to Otumos Payemanu went 88 yards for a score and with another extra point sailing through the uprights, the lead grew to 14-0 at the 11:08 mark.
The Busters were making a push towards the end zone, but penalties and an instant stop by Juan Harris forced another punt and Independence took over at their own 10-yard line. Jones' pass on third down was incomplete but a roughing the passer call gave the Pirates another opportunity.
Independence looked to score again but a sack on Jones from Jabbar Price forced a punt from Adam Barry that was fielded at the 22-yard line. Garden City picked up it's first conversion of the night on a eight yard run from Charles West who picked up another first down as the quarter concluded with the Pirates leading 14-0.
The second quarter began with a huge gain from Dedrick Mills for a first down. Quarterback David Moore completed a screen to Tyler Oden and a run from fullback Justin Brown took the Busters to the two-yard line. Garden City failed to score and settled for a 32-yard field goal from Ben Raybon cutting the Independence lead to 14-3 with 11:35 left in the half.
On the kickoff, a 90-yard return from King to the 10-yard line gave the Pirates amazing field position to start the drive and two plays later Payemanu scored his second touchdown from seven yards out. Special teams continued to have success as Redman improved to 3 for 3 on extra points and with 10:41 remaining before halftime, Independence extended their lead to 21-3.
The Busters got to the endzone on a one-yard run from Moore and cut the score to 21-10 with 6:49 left in the half. The Pirates were forced to punt again as Jones was sacked and another punt from Barry had Garden City starting from their own 20-yard line.
A huge catch downfield on third down by Keyshawn Jones had Garden City a first down at the 44-yard line and they scored on a 4-yard run by Mills and a 2-point conversion dive by Moore cut the Independence lead to 21-18 with 1:08 remaining in the half.
The Pirates were forced to punt again, and this time Barry's punt had the Busters at the 47-yard line before a kneel took the game to half with Independence leading 21-18.
In the third quarter, Garden City took its first lead on a return and with 14:48 remaining the score was 25-21 Busters. The Pirates began their first possession with handoffs to Payemanu and Shermari Jones followed by consecutive rushes by Jay Jones to cross midfield.
Joshua Thomas gained five yards the next play but Jones was sacked for a loss of four yards and a mishandled snap recovered by Independence forced another punt, this time to the 17 yard line. The defense held strong with huge tackles for loss from Jamar Montgomery and Dequarius Gaines and a pooch punt from James Dall had the Pirates begin the drive at their own 37-yard line.
Independence threatened but were once again forced to punt and the Busters began another drive on their own 40-yard line. Garden City went three and out but with an amazing punt they forced the Pirates to start the drive at their own four-yard line.
Quarterback AJ Wright entered the game gaining positive yardage for Independence throughout the remainder of the period and the score after three had the Busters leading 25-21.
The fourth quarter began with a scramble from Wright who was stopped on third down forcing yet another punt. Garden City got into the red-zone but settled for a field goal Raybon pushing the score to 28-25 Busters with 7:49 left to play.
The following kickoff went out of bounds allowing the Pirates to start the drive at the 35-yard line, but the Busters held off the offense and forced another punt. The defense got much needed tackles from Antonio Wallace and Ben Hutch to force a three and out but Independence was unable to get any momentum going, turning the ball over on downs.
Garden City settled for a field goal, but it was no good and suddenly the Pirates had new life. Henry returned to the game hitting Roy Livingstone and Marqwell Odom on back to back passes and on fourth down a completion to Payemanu took the Pirates across midfield.
Deunte Chatman picked up a first down on a 10-yard rush, but back to back incompletions caused another turnover on downs and Independence dropped the contest 28-21.
Next week, the Pirates (1-2) return to Shulthis Stadium to host the Fort Scott Greyhounds (0-3) with kickoff set for 7 pm.