When former college teammates face off as coaches of opposing football teams, two things seem certain. Extreme bragging rights will be at stake, and it will be difficult for either to fool the other.
That was the case Friday night at Zerger Field when former Bethany Swedes Marc Svaty and Jamie Cruce met up. Svaty’s Halstead Dragons got the better of it, downing Cruce’s Pratt Greenbacks 29-15. With few surprises up either coach’s sleeve, the game would come down to which team got a few breaks and made the most plays.
The contest was tight most of the way, neither team leading by more than 7 points until late in the proceedings.
The first quarter went by quickly, and scorelessly. Pratt’s defense held inside the 10 yd line, but Halstead still had the field position advantage as the second quarter commenced.
Halstead was the beneficiary of a misconnection on a Pratt punt, and got a short field as a result. At 10:13 the game’s first score came on a 12 yd QB scramble. It was 7-0 Halstead.
Pratt’s offense had been shut down in the first couple of series as the ground game wasn’t working. On the Frogs ensuing possession, the offense got things going through the air. Cesar Regalado, Ryan Landry, Shawn Ramos and Derek Barnard had receptions as Pratt moved the ball to the Halstead 12 before sputtering.
A Ramos interception gave PHS the ball back at the 15. At 4:46 Derek Barnard caught a TD pass and the 2-point conversion to put Pratt ahead 8-7. Halstead calmly drove the ball on their final possession of the half, and connected on a TD pass with 7 seconds left to go up 14-8 at the break.
In Q3, Bryson Cruz picked off a Dragon pass giving Pratt the ball at Halstead’s 28. Receptions by Samson Kohman and Ramos took the ball down to the 1 from where Regalado punched it in to put Pratt back on top 15-14 at 5:44.
In the final stanza, the Frog defense held Halstead on 4th down at their 16. Unable to move the ball, Pratt had to punt it back to Halstead. Halstead again drove into Pratt territory, and this time converted on a 25-yard pass play to regain a lead they would not relinquish— 22-15.
Halstead tacked on the clincher with 1:55 remaining and the final score would be 29-15 Halstead.
Coach Cruce was not dispirited after the game. “We actually played a football game for 4 quarters this week,” he observed.
Pratt travels to Hesston next week. Look for stats online next week.