Alan Kopitsky, Democrat News
The Fredericktown High School football team celebrated the careers of its seven seniors prior to Friday night’s game against East Prairie.
Once the game started, the two teams exchanged long plays and combined for 13 touchdowns as Fredericktown (2-7) won 57-34.
The first three possessions of the game didn’t reveal the offensive explosion which was to follow. Fredericktown received the opening kickoff, but turned the ball over on downs. The visiting Eagles (3-6) ran three plays and had to punt.
East Prairie forced a Fredericktown punt and took over on the Cats’ 34 yard line. Four plays later, Eagles’ fullback Braylan Cade scored from four yards out. Connor Marcum ran in the 2-point conversion to give East Prairie an 8-0 lead with 3:30 to play in the first period.
It took Fredericktown just ten seconds to respond. After a short kickoff, the Cats took over on their 49. Fredericktown quarterback Easton Wood found receiver LeeAndrea Catchings behind the Eagles’ defense for a 51-yard scoring strike. DJ Baca’s PAT made it 8-7 with 3:20 to go in the first.
On its next possession, East Prairie took advantage of two pass interference penalties to go 82 yards on 15 plays. Ty Wallace found Marcum for a 20-yard touchdown. Fredericktown stopped the 2-point attempt and East Prairie led 14-7 with 9:41 to play until halftime.
East Prairie got the ball right back, as the Eagles forced a Wood fumble. The Cats’ junior got the ball right back, as he recovered a Tavion Ware fumble. The Cats took over on their 34. Carter Cheaney ran for seven yards, and Wood picked up ten more. A personal foul gave the Cats the ball on the Eagles’ 34. Wood then connected with Catchings one again. This time the Cats’ receiver out jumped and outfought the Eagles’ Rudy Arizmendi for the pass. Catchings then powered through two East Prairie tacklers to get into the end zone. Baca, who was perfect 7-7 on PATs, tied the game at 14-14 with 7:47 to play in the half.
Fredericktown took the lead for good on a big defensive play on the Eagles’ next possession. Cade ran the ball six yards before FHS linebacker Ethan Marler took the ball out his hands and returned it 48 yards for a score. It was 21-14 with 7:36 to play in the first half.
East Prairie cut the Fredericktown lead to one point on a 42-yard Wallace pass to Marcum with 6:06 to play.
Fredericktown capped a four-minute stretch where the teams scored five times, as Carter Cheaney went 45 yards on a jet sweep. Wood ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 29-20 with 5:20 play in the first half.
After and East Prairie three and out, Fredericktown put together an eight-play, 53-yard drive capped by a ten-yard run by Wood. The Cats led 36-20 with 30.8 seconds left in the half.
After the break, the teams continued the scoring. Wallace connected with Marcum for a 63-yard touchdown. It was 36-26 with 8:58 to play in the third quarter.
Fredericktown then put together its longest drive of the game. During the 13-play drive, the Cats converted on a pair of fourth downs. On fourth and nine from the Eagles’ 17, Wood connected with Marler for the score to make it 43-26 with 3:27 left in the third.
East Prairie turned the ball over on downs twice and Fredericktown took advantage as Wood connected with Catchings for a third score from 27 yards out to make it 50-26 with 7:16 left.
They were matched by Wallace to Marcum who connected once again on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 5:36 left in the game.
Fredericktown added an insurance touchdown, as Cheaney ran 32 yards for the final score with 3:38 to play in the game.
Cheaney ended the game with 75 yards rushing, 70 receiving, and two touchdowns. Wood had 81 yards rushing and a touchdown. He also completed eight passes for 199 yards and five scores. Catchings had three receptions for 115 yards and three touchdowns. Marler caught three balls for 44 yards and a touchdown.
The Blackcats will open the Class 3, District 1 playoffs at Ste. Genevieve, Friday.