The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


August 31, 2013

Priester's TD dash sparks Carthage

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Cameron Priester raced 55 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter as Carthage broke a 33-33 tie and defeated Seneca 40-33 in a nonconference game Friday night at K.E. Baker Stadium.

Junior quarterback Gabe Franklin completed 20 of 26 passes for 277 yards and four touchdowns as the Tigers built a 27-7 lead on their first possession of the second half.

“Things started clicking and I got a lot more confidence in myself, my receivers and the offense all the way around,” said Franklin, who rushed for 78 yards on 13 carries.

“It will be important because other teams are going to have to worry about me running and passing and not just the running back,” he said.

Seneca quarterback Payton Rawlins threw four touchdown passes in the last four minutes of the third quarter as the Indians took advantage of two Carthage turnovers and tied the score at 33.

Rawlins, a senior, completed 18 of 32 passes for 356 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. His 47-yard pass to Chance Smith set up the first of Seneca’s second-half touchdowns, which came three plays later on a 25-yard pass to Smith that brought Seneca to within 27-13.

“Our linemen picked up the blitzes, gave me time to throw and him time to get open,” said Rawlins, who threw touchdown passes of 52 and 60 yards to Braxton Graham, then a 33-yard strike to Smith on the last play of the quarter to tie the score.

“We talked about effort (at halftime),” said Seneca head coach Dan Scheible. “We wanted to give tremendous effort. I’m really pleased with our effort against a team many people believe is one of the best teams in Class 4.”

Carthage took a 7-0 lead on a three-yard sweep by Kennan Harrison, then Seneca tied the score on its first possession, aided by a pass interference penalty in the end zone against Carthage.

Seneca scored on the next play with a 14-yard pass from Rawlins to junior wide receiver Ethan Dorland. Afterward, Seneca had just one first down in the first half and ended the half with eight yards rushing on seven carries as Carthage took a 20-7 lead.

“Offensively, we gave them a lot more chances in the second half,” said Carthage head coach Jon Guidie. “I think we were pretty balanced and opportunistic. They gave us a lot of pressure. They were bringing their linebackers nearly every single play.

“They didn’t give up,” he said of Seneca. “Their quarterback is tough, tough to bring down, and he makes good decisions.”

Carthage had a 15-play drive in the first half that took nearly eight minutes off the clock but didn’t score. Franklin’s fourth-and-8 pass from the Seneca 14-yard line fell incomplete.

A 24-yard punt return by Eli Seay gave Carthage a first down at the Seneca 36 with 5:43 left in the half. Franklin’s 34-yard pass to Tyler Ralston set up a 2-yard touchdown pass to D’Angelo Poole as the Tigers took a 14-7 lead.

Carthage stopped Seneca with an interception by Alex Derryberry, and Franklin’s 45-yard pass to Ralston Schramm gave the Tigers a first down at the Seneca 5 with a minute left in the first half. Franklin’s 3-yard pass to tight end Jesse Martini in the end zone gave the Tigers a 20-7 lead.

After a Seneca punt, Carthage drove 71 yards in 10 plays, including a three-yard touchdown pass to Poole that gave the Tigers a 27-7 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Seneca then scored four touchdowns in less than four minutes with the help of a fumble recovery by Rawlins and a fumble recovery on a kickoff return by Hampton Yust.

“I think Bryson Stringert made the hit,” Yust said. “There was a lot of energy on the sidelines.”

Yust’s recovery of an errant pitch by Franklin gave the Indians their final chance with a minute left in the game, but Rawlins’ desperation pass on fourth-and-14 from the Seneca 24 was broken up by E.J. Morgan.

“I don’t know what it is with the first game, whether it’s the jitters or younger guys playing,” Franklin said. “But we’ll play with a lot more confidence.”

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