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Iron Horse steams past Tri-County Heroes

MAGNOLIA – Mother Nature’s actions over the past two weekends caused a pair of Tri-County Heroes Gridiron Developmental League games to be cancelled.  Saturday night’s game with the Mississippi (Pike County) Iron Horse showed some of the results of a long layoff.

     Despite a stellar bend-but-don’t-break defensive effort, the Heroes dropped a close 22-15 decision to Mississippi at South Pike High’s Colee Field.

     Tri-County closes out its inaugural GDFL season Saturday night against the Louisiana Bayou Vipers.  Game time is set for 7 p.m.  The game site will be announced later this week.

     Both defenses put forth gallant efforts, as the offenses operated at a bare minimum. Neither team managed more than 189 yards of total offense.

     Mississippi was able to make the most of their slim opportunities to win the game.

     “Our defense made some big plays for us; that kept us in the game,” said Heroes head coach and defensive coordinator Phil Campbell. 

     After a scoreless first period, Iron Horse defensive back Michael Esters returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown.  Quarterback Daniel McGaffney completed his 2-point conversion to Keyouna Perkins for an 8-0 Mississippi lead with 13:30 left in the opening half.

     Tri-County (3-4) took advantage of a fumbled punt return by Mississippi, promptly marching 31 yards in seven plays. Ryan Weaver hit a 27-yard field goal with 8:39 left the first half, and the Heroes trailed 8-3.

     McGaffney used his legs to score on a 14-yard run. His conversion pass failed, as the Iron Horse took a 14-3 lead with 7:07 left in the second stanza.

     The Heroes responded once again on the ensuing kickoff. 

     Quarterback Jimmy Johns hit receiver Ronnie McNulty across the middle of the Iron Horse defense.  After breaking several would-be tacklers, McNulty found paydirt 51 yards later.  The PAT kick failed and Tri-County trailed 14-9 at the intermission.

     With 4:10 left in the third, McGaffney found receiver James Morris with a 26-yard touchdown pass. McGaffney called his own number on the conversion run, increasing Mississippi’s lead to 22-9.

     With 14:42 left in the game, Tri-County quarterback Justin Durr scored on a 20-yard run. The conversion try failed.

     The Heroes had several opportunities against the Iron Horse to score in the final period, only to have drives snuffed by downs or turnovers.

     “We just could not get the breaks we needed on offense,” Campbell commented.