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The West Prairie-La Harpe Cyclones hosted the Unity Mustangs for the 2006 Homecoming last Friday night and put together a 60-29 victory in a sometimes crazy and very emotional game.
The West Prairie Trails North contest was the final homecoming for La Harpe High School. (which will converge next year with Hancock County neighbors Dallas City and Carthage) and possibly the last varsity football game in La Harpe.
The Cyclones rose to the occasion and sent the large Homecoming crowd home happy with a big win.
The Cyclones jumped out early to what appeared to be a comfortable 26-7 lead in the first half. Two touchdown passes by junior signal caller Bryan Rodeffer to seniors Tyler Sharpe (32 yards) and Joel DeCounter (14 yards) spearheaded the early outburst.
DeCounter added two more TD's on a 10 yard run and 85-yard kick-off return, while a pair of Matt Woolam PAT kicks accounted for the rest of the WP-LH first half scoring.
The third quarter saw a sudden shift in momentum after the Cyclones failed to score on their initial possession of the 2nd half. Injuries to starting running backs Bryan Butterfield and DeCounter left WP-LH short-handed and sparked a resurgence by the Mustangs.
The Unity power run game was suddenly unstoppable and the Cyclones were treading water on offense. With 3:29 to go in the 3rd period, the Mustangs had cut the Cyclone edge to 5 points at 26-21.
That's when junior Skyler Pence gave WP-LH the spark that they needed. On the ensuing kick-off after Unity's last score, Pence took the return back down the north sideline, eluded 3 or 4 potential tacklers, and raced into the end zone. That score sparked a 34-point second-half outburst by the seemingly struggling Cyclones.
The Cyclones would score 4 TD's in the final 9 minutes to pull away from the Mustangs and turn a nail-biter into a rout. TD's came on a 28-yard run by senior Matt Woolam, a 90-yard interception return by Pence, a 9-yard run by DeCounter, and a 25-yard dash by senior halfback Derrick Daudelin.
A 2-point conversion pass from Rodeffer to DeCounter and PAT kicks by Woolam and Dustin Derry set the final 60-point total for WP-LH.
WP-LH amassed 363 total yards with 306 on the ground and 57 through the air. Woolam stepped up, with Butterfield and DeCounter out with injuries, to put up 113 yards on 11 caries. DeCounter played long enough to net 68 yards, while Daudelin (37 yards), Daniel Patterson (32), and Butterfield all had over 30 yards.
Senior fullback Kylen Carpenter added 12 yards and Rodeffer netted 13 total -22 on sacks hurt the QB's final yardage total).
Rodeffer hit on 3 of 3 first half pass attempts to pickup the 57 yards passing. Besides the two TD tosses to Sharpe and DeCounter, he also hit an 11-yard pass to Woolam to pickup a big first down to keep a drive alive. Hopefully, this is a sign of a more productive passing attack for this Cyclone offensive attack.
Defensively, WP-LH had both big plays and tough times in this contest. They forced 3 turnovers from the Mustangs, but gave up 412 total yards. They gave up 29 points, but came up with a big goal line stand at the end of the first half. The Cyclones will try to build upon the positives, while working to improve upon those areas that were not so good.
The tackle chart was topped by Woolam with 8 total stops, while Pence was involved in 7 stops. Jason Copeland and Blake Harper had 6 tackles apiece, Dustin Derry and Justin Ward had 65 each, and Brice James finished with 4 total stops.
Also on the tackle chart were Daudelin, DeCounter, Butterfield, Tyler Sharpe, Kylen Carpenter, Dakota Hicks, Daniel Patterson, Michael Burke, Brytton Mason, Jared Schwerer, Keith Rittenhouse, and Evan Wisely. James, Mason, Ward, and Sharpe were all involved in tackles for loss.
The Cyclones will return to action next Friday night when they travel to Havana to face the Ducks. The West-Prairie Trails North contest will kick-off at 7:00 p.m. and will see the 4-2 Cyclones trying to pick up a playoff cinching 5th win against the dangerous 2-4 Ducks.