REIFFTON — Daniel Boone was right there in its Berks Football League Section 1 contest against archrival Exeter at the half on Friday night.
But after an almost unbelievable chain of events in the third quarter, a four-point deficit for the Blazers had become a 21-point hole and their season most likely came to an end with a 41-6 loss at Jack Thomas Stadium.
Seven Boone starters were injured in that third quarter, including star running back Kyle Myers and quarterback Nick Hughes. Add to that a 26-yard loss on a bad snap on a punt and an interception return for a touchdown later in the quarter as everything that could go wrong for the Blazers (3-4, 4-6) did.
Xavier Smith ran for 49 yards and Hughes passed for 89 for Boone, which came into the night needing a win to hold down the 16th and final possible playoff spot in the District 3-AAA rankings.
Manny Soto ran for 145 yards on 16 carries, including 68 for a touchdown on the second play of the game, for the Eagles (5-2, 8-2).
"Seven starters were injured in that (the third) quarter,' said Boone coach Bill Parks. "Unbelievable! We're not that deep with the number of kids and the number of freshman we have on the team. It showed the depth.'
The Blazers recovered well the rest of the first half after the long scoring run up the middle by Soto and a 26-yard field goal by Logan Gettis (his first of two on the night) gave the hosts a 10-0 lead late in the opening quarter.
Boone came back with a 12-play, 95-yard drive of over seven minutes, including an electrifying 56-yard gain by Myers after he caught a short pass from Hughes in the right flat. Hughes finished up the long march by hitting Smith in the end zone from 10 yards out and it was 10-6 at the half.
But Myers, who had topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season the week before at Muhlenberg, was injured on a five-yard run on the first play of the second half and limped off the field with the help of teammates. He didn't return until the fourth quarter, and during that time Exeter drove 22 yards for a score after the big loss on the punt play, Yocum picked off a pass in the flat and ran 17 yards untouched into the end zone, and Gettis booted a field goal from 29 yards for a 27-6 advantage after three.
"You could feel it,' Parks said concerning the injury to Myers. "Everyone just went, ' Oh, no'. He's our leader emotionally and physically. We put a lot on his back. The guys stepped up, but it was too little, too late.'
Myers came back in the fourth quarter and ran the ball two more times to finish up his outstanding season with 39 yards on the night on 10 carries. But it was indeed too late for the Blazers as the Eagles retained possession of the Pig Iron trophy and upped their all-time series mark against Boone to 34-22-1.
"It was a physical game and we got physically beat,' added Parks. "I'm proud of the seniors. We had eight seniors and they took us to the brink of the playoffs. That was huge.
"So we regroup. The underclassmen will be back working. We have a JV game here. These kids have a desire to win football games.'
Smith broke a 32-yard run late in the game. ... Quarterback Yocum ran for 58 yards on 12 carries and Ethan Lutz came off the bench for the Eagles and rushed for 37. ... Smith and Jon Passifione each had four solo tackles and three assists for the Blazers and Lutz led the way for the winners with six solo stops.
Danniel Boone 6
Daniel Boone 0 6 0 0 - 6
Exeter 10 0 17 14 - 41
Ex-Soto 68 run (Gettis kick)
Ex-Gettis 26 FG
DB-Smith 10 pass from Hughes (kick failed)
Ex-Soto 8 run (Gettis kick)
Ex-Yocum 17 Int. Return (Gettis kick)
Ex-Gettis 29 FG
Ex-Lutz 5 run (Gettis kick)
Ex-Grill 5 run (Gettis kick)
First Downs 9 17
Rushing yards 79 256
Passing yards 89 34
Total yards 168 290
Passes C-A-I 5-13-2 3-6-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-54 6-70
Punts-Avg. 2-37.5 2-50
Daniel Boone: Smith, 12-49; K. Myers, 10-39; Ramsey, 3-12; Galanti, 3-12; Spagnoletti, 2-3; Hughes, 6-(-2); Kresge, 1-(-8); Team, 1-(-26).
Exeter: Soto, 16-145, 2 TDs; Yocum, 12-58; Lutz, 7-37, 1 TD; Grill, 2-9, 1 TD; Tibbetts, 1-8; Lountzis, 1-(-1).
Daniel Boone: Hughes, 5-11-89, 1 TD, 1 INT; Spagnoletti, 0-2, 1 INT.
Exeter: Yocum, 3-6-34.
Daniel Boone: Smith, 3-26, 1 TD; Myers, 1-56; Galanti, 1-7.
Exeter: Jackson, 2-16; Lysczek, 1-18.
Interceptions: Exeter-Yocum, Pagan.