Jr. Indians fall short to Drew Central in season-opener, 8-6

Poyen’s defense (13) Jake Burks wraps up Drew Cen- tral’s running back Chris Shaw with help from (35) Kevin Freeman and (70) Luke Rybard on the tackle during junior high football action on Thursday, September 5, 2019 at Malvern National Bank Stadium, Indian Field. Photo by Gerren Smith
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

In a very humid and hot temperature environment on the gridiron Thursday night, September 5, 2019 in Tribe Country, the Poyen Jr. Indians fought hard in a close loss to the Drew Central Jr. Pirates 8-6 to kick off their season-opener in junior high football action at Malvern National Bank Stadium—Indian Field.

The Jr. Indians battled tough with a productive overall defensive performance to hold the Jr. Pirates to one end zone trip for the entire 32 minute contest of four quarters. Despite the heat, Poyen junior high head football coach Vick Barrett was proud of how hard the Jr. Indians competed and battled through heat exhaustion and cramps against a talented Drew Central team.

"I thought the kids played really hard through cramping up. We came up short, but I'm proud of our effort," Barrett said.

The only scoring drive for both teams came in the first quarter. Drew Central began their series of drives from Poyen's 49-yard line at the 7:54 mark. The Jr. Pirates' offense would be forced into a fourth down situation at the 6:36 mark, but converted on a first down close to Jr. Indian territory toward the red zone. Drew Central's running back Chris Shaw soared into the end zone for the touchdown and quarterback Kade Bodiford scored the two-point conversion to give the Jr. Pirates an 8-0 lead at the 6:02 mark.

For the Jr. Indians' offensive possession, Poyen utilized their ground attack with strong carries for yardage by Cody Samples. After a face mask penalty on Drew Central that caused a first down for the Jr. Indians. Then, quarterback Jake Burks completed a first down pass to receiver Kevin Freeman on the reception to move the Jr. Indians' offense inside Drew Central's five-yard line. Following another penalty on Drew Central, Poyen moved to the one-yard line and Connor Lisenbey scored the 1-yard touchdown to put the Jr. Indians on the scoreboard at the 4:51 mark. Poyen was unsuccessful on the two-point conversion, and trailed Drew Central, 8-6.

From this point, neither team would reach the end zone for the rest of the contest. The Jr. Pirates held on to their two-point advantage at the end of the opening quarter, at halftime and third quarter over Poyen 8-6.

Throughout the game defensively, Poyen had sparks of big stops for tackles from Burks, Freeman, Jayden Zureliene, Jesse Neal, Alejandro Bulle-Guzman and Lisenbey to help lead the Jr. Indians' defense. Phoenix Chaney also had a fumble recovery late during second quarter action.

The Jr. Indians will return to junior high football action Thursday, September 12, 2019 on the road against Bismarck. Kickoff is set at 7 p.m., at Doyle Henderson Field in Bismarck.