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Jackets win thriller in Pettus, 21-20
by James Ratcliff
Nov 07, 2013 | 45 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Eva Tollefson photo
Runge’s Jeric Esparza follows a block as he carries the ball Friday night in Pettus. Runge beat Pettus 21-20 Friday night, locking up a playoff spot for the team.
Eva Tollefson photo Runge’s Jeric Esparza follows a block as he carries the ball Friday night in Pettus. Runge beat Pettus 21-20 Friday night, locking up a playoff spot for the team.
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Eva Tollefson photo
Corey Barnes carries for the Runge Yellow Jackets Friday night.
Eva Tollefson photo Corey Barnes carries for the Runge Yellow Jackets Friday night.
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Tania Esparza photo
The Runge defensive line gets ready to charge the Pettus offense Friday night.
Tania Esparza photo The Runge defensive line gets ready to charge the Pettus offense Friday night.
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Tania Esparza photo
Runge’s Steven Salas carries the ball on this play Friday night.
Tania Esparza photo Runge’s Steven Salas carries the ball on this play Friday night.
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Tania Esparza photo
Runge’s Richard Ramirez makes contact with a pair of Pettus Eagles.
Tania Esparza photo Runge’s Richard Ramirez makes contact with a pair of Pettus Eagles.
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PETTUS – After defeating Yorktown in an unusual non-district contest between District 14-1A Division II games, the Runge Yellow Jackets returned to district play as they faced the Pettus Eagles with a playoff spot on the line on Friday night. The game was closely contested throughout and, when all was said and done, the Yellow Jackets emerged victorious by the score of 21-20. The victory gives Runge a playoff berth, joining Falls City and Woodsboro as the District 14 representatives in the Class 1A Division II postseason.

“I can’t explain it,” said Runge head coach Matt Wright. “We were flat for the first half, but they came out in the second half and decided that’s not the way they wanted to end their season. The kids decided they wanted to get it done.”

Both teams scored once in the first quarter, with the Yellow Jackets drawing first blood on a running play by Jeric Esparza and the extra point hitting the mark for Runge. The Yellow Jackets were a perfect three-for-three on extra point attempts in the game. Pettus’ PAT failed after their first touchdown of the contest, leaving the score at 7-6 in favor of the Yellow Jackets. The score lasted through the remainder of the first half. Pettus took the lead in the third quarter with a touchdown and a two-point conversion to put the score at 14-7, which lasted through the third quarter and into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, business picked up for both teams. The Eagles extended their lead to 20-7 with a running play, but the kick failed. The Yellow Jackets scored twice in the fourth quarter after that to ensure victory. Esparza had a hand in both scores, as he ran in the first one and passed to Richard Ramirez for the second score to claim the victory. Statistics for both teams were unavailable at press time.

“It showed that we understand what it takes to win games,” said Wright. “The kids stepped up. Pettus did a great job, their kids played phenomenal.”

This week, the Yellow Jackets will host their undefeated cross-county rivals, the Falls City Beavers, for Parents’ Night.

“This is a game we’re going out to win, to coach to win, to practice to win,” said Wright. “We’ll let the chips fall where they may. Falls City’s a phenomenal team, but that’s why you play the game. We’re not warming up for the playoffs, we’re playing to win the game.”

Kickoff in Runge is set for Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
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