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TRENTON - The Bronson Eagles fell to the Trenton Tigers 21-14 Friday night at Trenton's Booster Stadium. The Eagles came in to Trenton flying high with a winning record (3-1) while the Tigers were winless and missing their starting tailback C.J. Bowers. The Eagles have been almost unstoppable running the ball against their opponents this season. The Bronson backfield has been averaging over 200 yards rushing per game. The young Tigers came out fired up for the large homecoming crowd and played a tough clock-killing ball control offense that kept the ball away from the potent Bronson running attack.
Both teams put zeros on the scoreboard in the first quarter, spending most of the time moving up and down the field feeling each other out. Early in the second quarter, Trenton QB Caleb Smith threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Bogarde. The Tigers converted on the two-point attempt to make the score 8-0. Again, both teams continued to use up clock: Trenton with long, time-consuming drives, stalling in Bronson territory, and Bronson with long drives ending in turnovers in Trenton territory.
Bronson threatened late in the second quarter. With 25 seconds left Bronson QB Kelby Barber connected with receiver C.J King for a 25-yard, over-the-shoulder catch, then, with time running out, Barber lofted a pass to an end zone-bound Jesse Waybright that was broken up by Trenton's Jordan Gray as the clock ran out in the second quarter with Trenton still up 8-0.
After Trenton's halftime homecoming festivities, the third quarter started with Bronson's Jessie Waybright receiving the kick and returning it to near midfield. The Eagles proceeded to march down the field, pounding the Tiger defense with the running of Virgil Greenlee and Rodolfo Contreras. The Bronson drive ended with Barber punching his way through the goal line pile into paydirt. After the missed extra point, the score was 8-6 Trenton.
Trenton received the kick and started the grind-the-ball-out routine again. Churning out first downs, they moved the ball to the shadow of the Bronson end zone, but could not get it in - the Eagle defense was mounting an energetic goal line stand. On fourth down Trenton went for it. As Tiger running back Corbyn Pugh headed for the end zone, he was hit with a big shot by Eagle defender Greenlee, and the ball popped up into the air and out of the end zone. The officials ruled that Pugh had crossed the goal line before the ball came loose and ruled the play a touchdown for Trenton. Bronson blocked the extra point to make the score 14-6 Trenton to end the third quarter.
The fourth quarter continued the trend for Trenton as they drove the length of the field, using up over half of the fourth quarter on a long scoring drive that ended with a nine-yard pass from Smith to Aaron Avila. The point-after made the score 21-6 Trenton.
After a stalled Bronson drive, Trenton got the ball and started moving down the field again in what looked to be a game-finishing drive. But just as Trenton was trying to get a final first down to put the nail in the Eagles' coffin, they coughed up the ball, which was picked up and taken to the Trenton end zone by Mike Sinclair. The two-point conversion was good and the score was now 21-14 Trenton. Bronson's on-side-kick was recovered by Trenton, which then killed the clock, ending Bronson's exciting comeback bid with a final score of 21-14.
"We lacked emotion in the first half," said Bronson head coach Al Cooksey. "It seemed like we were on defense the whole first half. Trenton controlled the clock and controlled the field."
"They were missing their big tailback (Bowers)," he added. "We had a chance and we blew it - we should have had this one tonight."
Bronson will rebound, Cooksey said. "We will get better. As long as the kids battle, we will figure out a way to win."
Trenton head coach Chris Baker commented, "the clock was a big factor for us," and "we were able to hang on (to win) at the end."
Baker complimented the Eagles, saying, "I knew it would be a dogfight; that Bronson team is a much-improved team."
They beat us up pretty good tonight but we hung in there and made some big plays to get the win."