One of the great mysteries in sports occurs when one team seems
to wield a strange curse over another. That has certainly been the
case in the annual pre-season football clash between El Molino and
Piner, as the Prospectors continue to have the Lion¹s number.
The latest edition of the annual Greek tragedy happened in
Forestville on Friday, as the Prospectors erased a 22-12 fourth
quarter deficit to pull out an improbable, 24-22 win. The victory
was the first of the season for Piner (1-2), while the Lions
wrapped up pre-season play with a disappointing 1-2 record.
³It was a very tough loss in a game we definitely should have
won,² said El Mo head coach Mike Roan. ³We asked the kids all week
to give us four tough quarters of football and they did. We put
ourselves in position to win the game.²
The Lions controlled the line of scrimmage for much of the first
half, as fullback Korey Gosselin found pay dirt on a one-yard
plunge in the opening quarter to put his team up a touchdown.
Piner answered with a 95-yard kick return by Lavelle Musfin that
cut the deficit to 7-6 at the end of one.
The Lions drew blood again in the second quarter as quarterback
Tyler Kozlowski engineered a solid drive culminating in another
two-yard touchdown dive by Gosselin for a 14-6 halftime lead.
Piner cut the El Mo lead to 14-12 early in the third period,
scoring on an 11-yard run by Greg Boitos. El Molino responded with
an impressive march, using a good combination of pass and run that
ended with a one-yard Kozlowski keeper for a commanding, 22-12 lead
at the end of three quarters.
Down by 10, the Prospectors abandoned the run, as quarterback
Michael Gebre directed an air assault that culminated in a 30-yard
scoring strike to receiver Jordan Rosenstein. The conversion run
failed and the Lions led 22-18.
Piner was on the move again midway through the fourth quarter,
mounting a drive that led to the go-ahead touchdown, a 15-yard
scoring pass for a 24-22 lead with 3:33 left in the game.
³I thought we played really well until the fourth quarter, and
then we had some tackling problems that led to a few big plays,²
noted Roan.
Down by two and with Gosselin on the bench with bruised ribs,
the Lions mounted a final drive with time running out.
El Mo pounded deep into Piner territory before the drive
stalled, prompting a 37-yard field goal try.
Senior kicker Luke Manton, who doubles with varsity soccer
during the week, was perfect on the attempt, but the Lions were
flagged for illegal procedure on the play, moving the ball back
five yards. The ensuing kick was partially blocked and Piner
escaped with the 24-22 win.
Gosselin ended his best rushing night of the season with 12
carries for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Spomer added 75
yards on the ground, while Kozlowski turned in a solid night
directing the offense.

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