The Eagle’s first play from scrimmage was a 77-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Pisani to Cooper Farrell and while the Rockies were able to throw some first half punches of their own, none landed with points as CMA ran away to a dominating first half.
“This was the game everybody was worried about last week,” said Plymouth coach John Barron. “We played like a team that read how good we were but so did they (CMA). Their first 24 minutes were impressive. We tried to tell our kids all week how well they (CMA) were going to be prepared. You have to give them credit. They completely outplayed us. They played faster and harder than we did.”
“I’m proud of the way we fought back but I was very disappointed in the start of the game,” said Barron.
“Right from the get-go the way our offense got out of the gate and our defense with the goal-line stand. So much drama in a playoff game is what you hope for,” said Academy coach Andy Dorrel. “Fortunately for us, we were able to get off to that quick start and it was very difficult for Plymouth to play catch up.”
In the second quarter, it was a quick strike again that hurt the Rockies as Pisani launched another 56-yard bomb to Mario Esquivel-Grajeda to put Plymouth in a big hole.
“Those were things that we’ve been working on for a while,” said Dorrel. “We felt like we would have an opportunity to get the ball down the field a little bit based on how they were playing.”
The Rockies were far from unsuccessful moving the football, heading to the locker room at halftime with 207 yards of total offense, but the two big plays and two first and goal opportunities that were turned away by the Eagle defense would make things tough.
“Give a lot of credit to our defensive staff,” said Dorrel. “They didn’t waver. Jake (Reichard) was carrying the ball getting the yards they needed but we were able to take a lot of the passing game away and that helped us concentrate on him.”
A third score as the first half was running out would prove to be too much for the Rockies to make up.
“I can’t give enough credit to our offensive staff. They were patient, doing what we were able to do, getting in and out of formations,” said Dorrel. “I was grateful for how we were able to move the ball on offense.”
From there the Academy went into their more conventional grind it out approach on offense and a pair of Plymouth turnovers would seal it.
“Early on we were frustrated. The ball was on the ground a couple of times and we couldn’t get on top of it,” said Dorrel. “When it came down to it the plays that needed to be made got made.”
“We didn’t have a very good week of practice and that was a concern,” said Barron. “The more film we watched of Culver the better they were.”
“The biggest surprise to me was the war in the trenches,” he said. “I thought we could win that and we certainly did not. We did not pick up their stunts that we worked on all week.”
Jake Reichard would end his senior season with another outstanding night with 276 yards rushing and another 40 passing accounting for 316 of Plymouth’s 367 total yards of offense.
CMA (5-5) will take on Logansport for a shot at the sectional title next week. Plymouth ends their season at 2-6.
•CMA 24, PLYMOUTH 14
Culver Academy 7 14 0 3 — 24
Plymouth 0 0 7 7 — 14
08:10 CMA — Farrall 77 yd pass from Pisani (Kohls kick),
07:02 CMA — Equivel Grajeda 56 yd pass from Pisani (Kohls kick)
01:57 CMA — Pack 1 yd run (Kohls kick)
05:03 P — Reichard 30 yd run (Cardona kick)
09:16 P — Reichard 21 yd run (Cardona kick)
04:31 CMA — Kohls 28 yd field goal
RUSHING: Culver Academy — Pack 20-128; Pisani 16-102; Esquivel-Grajeda 4-26; Mull 8-2; Farrall 2-minus 2. Plymouth — Reichard 28-276; Mills 3-20; Garcia 1-20; Crawford 3-11.
PASSING: Culver Academy — Pisani 3-4-0-129. Plymouth — Reichard 5-10-1-40.
RECEIVING: Culver Academy — Esquivel Grajeda 2-52; Farrall 1-77. Plymouth — Garcia 4-25; Mills 1-15.
INTERCEPTIONS: Culver Academy — Mull 1-11. Plymouth — None.
FUMBLES: Culver Academy — Farrall 1-0; Mull 1-0. Plymouth — Reichard 4-2; Crawford 1-0; Garcia 1-0.