November 23, 2013

Plainview sends Tuttle out of playoffs

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star

PLAINVIEW — In a battle that highlighted defense more than anything, Plainview ended Tuttle’s season in the second round of the playoffs with a 14-6 win.

Austin Carrera scored two touchdowns to lead the Indians to victory, but it was only fitting that the game virtually ended with a safety. The same team that gave head coach Phil Koons and his Tuttle team such a rough start by beating them on opening night eventually brought the 2013 Tiger football season to a close.

If it was a tight game before, it was even tighter this time. Back and forth the teams went, and Plainview only barely had the better opening frame. Their first drive, led by the quick feet of quarterback Taber Jordan, got them just outside of the red zone, but the drive ended when a 42-yard field goal fell just short.

Tuttle was twice forced to punt early, and that gave Plainview a chance to draw first blood in the second quarter. After driving down to the Tiger 22-yard line, Austin Carrera broke through up the middle and ran virtually untouched into the end zone. It was the second productive drive of the half for the Indians and it paid off in a big way.

The Tigers were so close to responding as Jesse Gregory finally got lose. The star running back rounded the right hand corner of the offensive line multiple times for a few first downs to take the Tigers all the way down to the Indians 17 yard line. But there, the drive suddenly stalled in the blistering north wind. A play action pass on fourth down fell incomplete, and the Indians took over.

Other than the one touchdown, it was a very defensive first half. The Indians tried to finish it with a show of offensive touch when Gage Kennedy found himself open in the end zone. Jordan’s pass nearly resulted in a highlight-worthy one-handed catch, but it fell just out of reach. With the ball back, Tuttle went to the air for one last shot to even things up before the break, but Jett Jobe’s pass sat up in the wind and fell into the hands of Plainview deep back Brandon Locke.

Down six, Tuttle wanted a quick fix to get back into the game. A 56-yard scramble by Gregory contributed to that effort in a big way, and no sooner did the Indians come out of the locker room before they found the Tigers inside the red zone. Find them they did, and the drive was once again stopped when Dakota Buie was quickly tackled after catching a quick out pass on fourth down.

But the Tiger defense picked up from where they left off, and Plainviews punt from deep in their own territory was returned by Tanner Brannon to the Indian 27. For the third time running, Tuttle couldn’t budge, and a 32 yard field goal fell short to keep the Tigers scoreless.

The missed chances were punished as the fourth quarter began. Carter Bowker managed to get his arms underneath a low pass from Jordan to put Plainview on the Tuttle two yard line. A few plays is all it took for Carrera to get his second touchdown of the game after he recovered his own fumble as he stretched the ball into the end zone.

As the game trudged on, so too did Tuttle’s hopes seem to be pulled into the thick mud. But out of that mud came a lifeline. Gregory finally broke free down the left and ran all of 33 yards for a Tiger touchdown to halve Plainview’s lead with just over five minutes remaining.

The Tuttle defense did their job, holding Plainview at midfield and forcing a punt; but what a punt it was. The Indians downed it inside the Tuttle one yard line, and the Tigers never had a chance. On fourth down, Jobe stepped back to pass inside his own end zone, and Kastin Spencer sealed it with a big sack for a safety.

It was a cruel, painful way to end the Tigers’ season, as Plainview got the ball from the kickoff and only needed two kneel-downs to run out the clock.