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Girard earns trip to the playoffs

STAFF REPORTS

The Girard Trojans football team won a hard-fought battle against the Iola Mustangs last night on Senior Night to earn themselves a spot in the first round of playoffs.

After falling to Burlington last week, the Trojans entered the game determined to bounce back and continue their season.

After opening kickoff by Girard, Iola drove the ball for nearly five minutes before the Trojan defense forced them to punt.

The Trojans then started their first offensive possession on their own one-yard line and tried to fight their way down the field but were forced to punt from the five-yard line after being bottled up by Iola’s defense.

Both teams continued to be forced into punting situations until Girard’s defense woke up and blocked an Iola punt to take possession on the Mustangs’ 30-yard line.

This sparked a fire in the Trojans’ offense, and on the first play of the possession Girard’s Kyler Siebert turned a mishandled snap into a 30-yard run into the end zone to bring the score to 7-0 after a completed PAT field goal.

After receiving the kickoff, Iola drove the field for over nine minutes in hopes of scoring but the Trojans’ defense refused to allow them into the end zone.

The Trojans took possession on Iola’s 30-yard line after forcing them to turn over on downs but failed to score before time expired in the first half.

To open the second half, Girard received the kickoff and drove the ball for nearly four minutes before finishing the drive with a run by Siebert up the middle into the end zone.

Now leading by 13, Girard’s defense stepped onto the field and forced the Mustangs to punt yet again after eight plays.

The Trojans made a 40-yard drive up the field before finding their way into the end zone a third time with a 30-yard pass from Siebert to Kreed Curran to bring the score to 19-0.

Girard’s Kreed Curran fights past a defender to get in the end zone after receiving a 30-yard pass from Kyler Siebert. Curran played a vital role throughout the night in both the pass and run game. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOYCE KOVACIC

After forcing the Mustangs to punt again, Girard took possession on Iola’s 40-yard line and made a 32-yard drive before Camden McFarland finished it off with an eight-yard run into the end zone.

Girard maintained their 25-point lead throughout the remaining minutes of the fourth quarter to earn the victory.

Regarding last night’s game, Coach Neil Philpot said, “Last night was a very good win for us! We showed a lot of persistence on both sides of the ball.

“Defensively, we bent but didn’t break. We kept fighting and made them sustain drives and eventually we were able to get them stopped. We never gave up the big play, which has really been an issue for us this year.

“Offensively, it took us a little bit to get some traction due to what they were giving us on defense. However, after the first half and talking through some adjustments, we were able to put some really nice drives together to seal the victory.

“Our guys played hard throughout the entire game. We were able to get all the seniors in on Senior Night, which is something I had really hoped to do as well. We are in the playoffs now and just have to go 1-0 each week.”

The Trojans now move on to face the Frontenac Raiders in the first round of playoffs next Friday in Frontenac.