MILDRED -- The Mildred Eagles came into Friday night's game against the Buffalo Bison knowing their margin of error was small against a talented Bison team that was picked to win the district title -- a team that has looked great against most teams this season.
The Eagles hung with the Bison but fell behind as the Bison were able to turn Eagle turnovers into points beating the Eagles 71-30 in Mildred.
The Eagles played well and fought hard throughout the game. They had plenty of opportunities to give up, but showed grit and continue to fight scoring touchdowns.
The Eagles took the opening kick and marched into Bison territory before the Bison recovered an Eagle fumble. The Bison proceeded to march deep into territory before the Eagles forced the Bison to turn the ball over on downs. The Eagles were unable to move the ball and were forced to punt.
Buffalo opened scoring for the night on their first play from center after the punt when Brett Hoffman hit Jamaul Randle for a 43-yard touchdown. The Eagles were again unable to answer and were forced to punt. The Bison drove the field and pushed two touchdowns ahead when Eric Beshears found an opening and scored on a 5-yard rush.
The Eagles pushed their way onto the scoreboard on their next drive, ripping off a 10 play drive capped by a Bishop Harris 23 yard touchdown scamper. The Bison quickly answered with a big play when James Phillips raced through an opening 48 yards for a touchdown.
The Eagles again answered with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Creed Baker to Cody Hayes. The Bison again countered with a quick drive finished with a 5-yard touchdown run by Randle.
The Eagles were looking to score again in the waning seconds of the half, but Randle stepped in front of a Baker pass, then raced the Eagles 50 yards giving the Bison another score as the clock expired giving the Bison a 30-16 lead at the half.
The Bison started out the 2nd half in a hurry scoring on their first play from scrimmage when Phillips scored a 58-yard touchdown run. The Eagles countered with a 25-yard touchdown run by Sammy Bustos. The Bison pushed back again on their subsequent drive when Randle raced 26 yards for a touchdown.
The Eagles were unable to answer on their following drive as the Bison forced them to turn the ball over on downs. The Bison scored another touchdown three plays later when Hoffman hit Randle for a 24-yard touchdown.
The Eagles would not go down without a fight and scored again on their next drive on a Harris 17 yard touchdown run. The Bison replied with a 1 yard Phillips touchdown run. The Eagles started their next drive at their own 14-yard line, driving out to midfield where Brett Steele intercepted a Creed Baker pass, returning it 58 yards for the touchdown. The Eagles got the ball back, but the Bison recovered an Eagle fumble and were able to run out the clock.
There are several things to take away for the Eagles, they never stopped fighting. They had plenty of opportunities to give up but always came out swinging, trying to close the distance. Big plays and mistakes killed the Eagles. The Bison scored 2 touchdowns on interceptions recovered 2 Eagle fumbles and had 3 touchdowns from over 40 yards out not to mention other drives where the Bison were able to complete a pass or make a bill run to move the chains on third and long.
You cannot win against a team as good as Buffalo when making mistakes. Overall the Eagles fought hard and played pretty well and the game was closer than the score showed. Even into the 4th quarter, it felt like the Eagles weren’t far from closing the score.
Jamaul Randle had a huge night for the Bison scoring 5 touchdowns (2 receiving, 2 rushing, and 1 on an interception)
James Phillips put up a big night as well scoring 3 rushing touchdowns.
Bishop Harris had a big night for the Eagles rushing for 252 yards on 27 carries and 2 touchdowns. Sammy Bustos and Cody Hayes pitched in with scoring plays of their own.
The Eagles host cross-county rival, Blooming Grove, next week. The Eagles need to win out to hope to make the playoffs. Buffalo hosts Edgewood.