Sailors nixed by N. Douglas, name royalty

Mapleton sophomore Jeremy Bender fights off a North Douglas defender after a fumble recovery last Friday night.

Mapleton: 44    N. Douglas: 52

Oct. 17, 2018 — Last Friday’s football game at Mapleton was a busy night, on the field as well as the sidelines as the Sailors not only took on the Warriors of North Douglas, but also recognized their seniors and crowned this year’s homecoming queen and king.

On the gridiron, Mapleton took an early lead that seemed to foreshadow a homecoming victory after moving ahead 16-0 with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.

Sophomore JJ Neece scored both touchdowns and senior Evan Moso claimed the conversions.

But with 59 seconds left in the period, the Warriors received the ensuing kick-off following the Sailors' touchdown, returning the ball 47 yards and into the end zone.

The conversion was denied, but Mapleton's lead had been cut to 16-6 heading into the second quarter.

On their first possession, the Sailors gave the ball up on downs, with the Warriors taking over on the 49-yard line.

North Douglas strung together a five-play drive that ended in another touchdown. On the attempted conversion, the ball was fumbled and junior Therym Schwertfeger came up with the recovery to deny the extra two points.

With their lead cut to just 4 points at 16-12, the Sailors were held to their own 25-yard line and opted to punt the ball away.

Unfortunately, the punt was blocked and North Douglas recovered, sprinting into the end zone for the Warriors' first lead of the game, 20-16, after a pass completion to score the conversion.

Mapleton was forced to punt on its next possession but was able to hold the Warriors on the 49-yard line after Moso tackled the North Douglas quarterback for a loss.

With 1:15 remaining in the half, the Sailors began a 4-play drive that garnered a crucial first down on a 4-yard carry by Moso.

On the next play, Neece claimed 12 yards for another first down, continuing the momentum to within the 16-yard line. From there, Moso breached the end zone with 51 seconds left.

Penalty calls on the next three conversion attempts pushed Mapleton back to the 30-yard line as North Douglas held the Sailors out of the end zone to deny the extra points.

With 35 second on the clock, the Warriors completed a pair of quick pass plays to the outside, stopping the clock on both receptions and positioning themselves with 15 yards of the goal line.

On the next lay, North Douglas connected on a touchdown pass and scored on the conversion, reclaiming the lead at 28-22.

Mapleton received the ensuing kick-off with five seconds left. Moso made the catch on Mapleton’s 23-yard line and immediately sprinted to the 40 before encountering the Warriors' defense. With blocking from juniors Nate Neece and Cody Soverns, Moso broke free and scored on the return to tie the game at 28-28 entering the half.

During the break, Mapleton named its homecoming court, which included: Freshmen Levi Torrence and Brier Shird; sophomores Robbie Burnett and Jordan Simington; juniors Cody Soverns and Trinity Holmes; and seniors Jade Starlight, Baileigh Johnston, Eric Hayes, Brittany Wilson, Evan Moso and Erin Michael.

The 2017 homecoming queen and king, Alexis Gierki and Dominic Wells, were on hand to crown Moso and Michael as this year's king and queen.

The second half of Friday's match-up was a near draw as both teams struggled to establish a definitive lead.

With 30 seconds left in the third period, JJ Neece scrambled from the pocket to tie the game at 42-42, but the Sailors were unable to score the conversion.

The Warriors responded, scoring with 1 second left in the period for a 50-42 lead — and what proved to be the final score.

Friday, the Sailors will finish the regular season at Elkton, beginning at 7 p.m.

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