BETHALTO - It was homecoming night at Civic Memorial Friday night, as the Eagles hosted Mascoutah in Mississippi Valley Conference action at Hauser Field in Bethalto.
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While the Eagles got off to a good start, Mascoutah's offensive talent became apparent early and often, as the visitors came away with a 66-34 victory.
On their first offensive drive, it looked like a perfect start to the homecoming festivities for CM.
Quarterback Jack Piening linked up with Christian Garrett on a long pass to set up a red zone opportunity, and Kevahn Flanagan took a short pass to the endzone to open the scoring.
CM would fumble the snap on the extra point, giving them just a 6-0 lead. It was a lead that didn't last long, as Mascoutah answered on their first drive with a Jake Fritz touchdown, and a converted PAT, to put the visitors ahead by one.
The ensuing Eagles drive lasted one play, as the snap was fumbled and scooped up by Mascoutah defender Ben Hamilton, who didn't have far to go to put his name on the scoresheet, giving Mascoutah a 14-6 lead.
“We got off to a good start, but we’re kind of snakebit,” said CM head coach Rick Reinhart. “We have a great drive, then we get to the extra point and don’t have enough men on the field. Too many rookie mistakes, we’re a very young football team.”
A CM three-and-out on the next possession resulted in a punt, one that was returned all the way back by Wyatt Stoltz to give Mascoutah a two-touchdown lead with a minute remaining in the first quarter.
Just over a minute into the second frame, the Eagles would answer back with a touchdown to trim the deficit. Again it was Jack Piening finding an open Christian Garrett, this time for six. A successful CM two-point conversion put the home team right back in the ballgame.
Mascoutah would go on to score 28 unanswered points before the half, finding holes in the Eagles’ defense on the ground and through the air. QB Baruk Jonsson threw for two TDs and ran one in from long distance.
Mascoutah's Devon Parks found the endzone on a short rush as well. The visitors had blown the game open, taking a 49-14 lead into halftime.
“You can’t try to outscore (Mascoutah), they do a great job offensively,” said Reinhart. “Their quarterback (Baruk Jonsson) is phenomenal, they’ve got a really good program. They’re where we hope to be.”
For Civic Memorial and head coach Rick Reinhart, it's a familiar tale. After two wins in their first two games, the Eagle football team has gone down to big scores since.
CM got the ball in the second half and quickly marched down the field and to add another score, chipping into the deficit, down 49-20 after a failed two-point conversion.
Mascoutah was very willing to keep the ball on the ground in the second half and found success doing so. Once again Baruk Jonsson scampered to the endzone for six, and running back Ryan Prince got in on the act as well with a 65-yard dash to paydirt.
Mascoutah took a 63-20 lead into the final quarter and brought out their backups for game time. To their credit, CM didn't quit, and didn't back down, and two Jack Piening TD passes made the score a more respectable 63-34.
“That was huge for us,” said Reinhart, of his team’s fight late in the game. “The way we fought back and scored some points against a good Mascoutah defense; that gives us something to build on.”
A late Mascoutah field goal put a bow on the night for the visitors, who, after trailing 6-0 after the first drive of the game, never looked back on their way to the big win in Bethalto.
It’s CM’s third straight defeat after a 2-0 start. It doesn’t get any easier for the Eagles, who host a tough Highland Bulldogs team at Hauser Field next Friday. Highland beat Mascoutah 42-7 last week.
“I think (we’re improving), we really only have one senior on the line, and two senior receivers,” said Reinhart of his young team that is taking steps in the right direction. “We’re young, and the fact that these guys can rise to the occasion against a bigger and stronger team, we’ll take that, we’re going to be positive.”
“We’re going to build on the positives, I’m proud of these guys, the way we came back. It’s not the result we want, but it’s a step in the right direction tonight.”
The visitors head back to Mascoutah with a 2-3 record after the win and will face Triad just outside Troy next week.
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