For most of Friday night’s critical BDC clash, the Eldorado Eagles held sway over a mistake prone Johnston City Indians club – just not when it ultimately counted, as the hosts surrendered two late touchdown passes in a 26-20 loss.
Johnston City’s Levi Tanner hit Jake Davison on a quick slant from nine yards out with just under 40 seconds left in the contest to give their side its first lead since the first quarter. Eldorado then made a valiant effort, driving to near midfield and with Nathan Burnett hooking up with Tyler Deaton on a 43-yard route up the sideline, but
Deaton could neither shake free nor get out of bounds before time expired.
The visitors started out gangbusters as well in the opening, taking advantage of an Eldorado false start on a fourth and one on their first drive to hit quickly, scoring on just three plays, capped by a 54-yard scamper by star back Tyler Johnson. Tank Wiseman got a paw on the PAT attempt, though, keeping the score at just 6-0.
The Indians began to unravel quickly after that. After forcing an Eldorado punt, their deep man muffed the ball on a fair catch, with Eldorado recovering deep in Johnston City territory. A 26-yard run by Austin Gollihur, with a facemask tacked on, gave Eldorado a first and goal at the two-yard line, and Dylan Roberts punched it in with 3:01 left, then added the conversion for an 8-6 lead.
Eldorado got another score on a four-yard keeper by Nathan Burnett a couple of minutes into the second quarter, then went into the half with a big shot of momentum after a Johnston City drive that reached the eight yard line was backed up by back-to-back false start penalties, then failed on three straight deep pass attempts.
However, the Indians got the only score of the third quarter. After stopping Roberts a couple of yards short on a 4th and six, Johnston City put together a drive similar to their first, with Johnson stringing together big chunks of 11 and 12 yards followed by an eventual 11-yard run up the gut for a score. Again, though, the conversion failed, this time with the Eagles’ Braxton Roberts sacking Tanner on a rollout, to keep Eldorado up 14-12.
Eldorado’s lead expanded to on long 74-yard drive, sparked at first by an 18 yard gain on 3rd and seven by Tyler Deaton, and extended on the first play of the fourth quarter by a five-yard gain on fourth and short by Roberts. Roberts then fought off a series of cramps to push the team into scoring territory, and the drive was capped by a one yard plunge by Burnett for a 20-12 lead.
It took just over two minutes for Johnston City to counter, though.
Their drive was extended by Johnson, who picked up a fourth down conversion by just inches, and shortly after, Tanner connected with Davison over the top of the Eldorado defense for a 51-yard touchdown bomb that, combined with Johnson’s conversion, tied the score.
The Eagles were also hit with a penalty for too many men on the field during the conversion that pushed up the kickoff line and pinned them at the 20 after a touchback. From there, not only did the Eagles go three and out, but Roberts’ punt attempt was partially blocked, giving Johnston City the ball just 38 yards from paydirt with 2:46 left.
Johnson got closer with a 16-yard gain, then converted on a key 4th and 1, setting up the game winning pass.
Eldorado was led by Roberts who had 99 yards on 20 carries. Deaton added 49 on 10 rushes, Burnett 38, and Austin Gollihur 37. Burnett completed two passes – both to Deaton – for 59 yards.
Johnson racked up 174 yards on 21 carries for Johnston City, while Tanner connected on five passes for 92 yards and the two key late scores.
Eldorado (4-2) travels to Chester next week, while Johnston City (4-2) travels to Fairfield.