The Monument/Dayville Tigers junior varsity football team and the Prairie City Panthers varsity team battled in their final game of the season Friday in Monument, the Panthers claiming a 40-14 victory.
With about 8 minutes left in the game, Prairie City was ahead by 26 points, as Monument/Dayville made strides toward the goal line.
Monument/Dayville’s Rico Sparka gave the Tigers a good placement on the field on a kickoff return, and later, on third down with 14 yards to go, Tiger Mark Thomas rushed for a first down.
Tiger freshman quarterback JT Hand was poised to move the ball farther when he was injured on the next play with neck and back pain.
An ambulance was called, and Hand was transported from the field to Blue Mountain Hospital in John Day for evaluation.
Officials ended the game with 7:35 left on the scoreboard.
At last check, Tiger head coach Nathaniel Ashley said Hand will be fine.
Tiger running back and linebacker Gabe Walker said he was glad to see Hand at school Monday.
“He’s coming back strong,” Walker said.
Prairie City dominated the game with a 32-6 lead at the half.
Panther freshman quarterback Jayden Winegar made some successful plays in the contest, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Jojari Field in the second quarter.
Ashley said his team was fired up in the second half and stepping up their momentum.
“We were making a drive there towards the end, and I was very happy with how we came out in the second half and played up until the injury,” he said.
Tiger Donovan Schafer, who scored a touchdown in the first quarter on a pass reception from Hand, scored another in the third with Hand scoring the two-point conversion. This brought the score to 34-14, the Panthers leading.
On the Prairie City’s next possession, Monument/Dayville recovered a fumble at the Tiger 20-yard line. After a false start penalty on the Tigers, the Panthers pushed to score on a safety.
Prairie City’s Syd Holman scored again on the Panther’s next drive, and the Tigers held the line, preventing the extra points.
With 1:40 left in the third, the score of 40-14 held for the remainder of the game.
It was a building year for both teams. Friday’s win was the first of the season for Prairie City. Although Monument/Dayville didn’t win any games this season, they did score 100 points in five games.
Prairie City head coach Nate Barber said he was impressed with his team’s effort on Friday.
“It was a tough end, but hopefully the guys see what we can do when we pay attention to detail, stay disciplined and the things that are possible when they play together, because it definitely has to be a team win,” Barber said. “Our defense really stepped up, and offense — we ran the ball pretty good — and our blocking was much better. Overall, everything was better.”
Ashley said his team also showed improvement.
“We had a great season,” he said. “With as young and little experience as we started the year with, we learned a lot and got better all the way through the year. That’s all we can ask for as coaches.”
Syd Holman: 2 rushing touchdowns
Jojari Field: 1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD, 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss
Connor Jones: 1 rushing TD, extra point conversion
Jake McHatton: 1 rushing extra point, 3 sacks
Danner Davis: 5 sacks, 2 tackles for loss
Jayden: 8 of 13 completed passes for 132 yards, 1 touchdown
Defense: 3 safeties
Donovan Schafer: 1 receiving TD, 1 rushing TD
Rico Sparka: 2-point conversion