Pirates fall to Hornets in season finale

The Drew Central football team turned in a strong effort to finish the season Thursday, November 5, but it wasn't enough in a 34-21 loss at Camden Harmony Grove.

It was a homecoming of sorts for Drew Central coach James Bell, a Camden native. His team rallied from a 14-0 deficit in the first half and trailed just 27-21 with less than a minute to play.

The Pirates (3-7, 2-5 7-3A) were out of the playoff picture but had a chance to play spoiler. Harmony Grove had already qualified for the postseason but needed to win by at least 10 points to avoid falling to a No. 4 seed, which would have meant a road trip in the first round.

The Hornets (5-5, 5-2) cleared the margin, but just barely. Dustin Vaughan scored on a 7-yard run with 48 seconds left to give Harmony Grove the No. 3 seed out of the 7-3A and a home playoff game against Green Forest on Friday, November 13.

Ticorian Berry and Bryson Thomas each had a pair of touchdown runs for the Hornets. Berry scored on runs of 19 and 7 yards in the first half to give Harmony Grove a 14-0 lead.

Drew Central answered Berry's second touchdown run with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Landon Owens to Mike Williams that pulled the Pirates within 14-6 with 2:46 remaining in the half.

A fumbled snap on the ensuing drive gave Drew Central a short field, and the Pirates eventually capitalized with a 5-yard touchdown run by David Bell. Owens hooked up with Williams for the two-point conversion to tie the game 14-14 at halftime.

Thomas tried to help the Hornets pull away in the second half, scoring on runs of 40 and 8 yards in the third quarter to give Harmony Grove a 27-14 lead. But Drew Central pulled within 27-21 late in the period on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Owens to McKeown.

The Pirates had a chance to tie or take the lead after the Hornets turned the ball over on downs inside the Drew Central 20 in the fourth quarter. They eventually had to punt, however, and Harmony Grove used most of the remaining clock while driving for Vaughan's score.

<em>Information provided by Kelly Blair of Camden News.</em>

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