By DARRELL COMER

Register Correspondent

MILLSAP – The Era Hornets suffered their first defeat of the season at the hands of the Millsap Bulldogs 27-19 Friday night in Millsap.

In spite of a gutsy performance by the Hornets they were unable to overcome several penalties and the injury of their starting quarterback against the class 2A Millsap Bulldogs on Homecoming night in Millsap. The game was a close hard fought battle throughout as the game was not decided until Era backup quarterback Nathan Metzler’s fourth-down pass glanced off the hands of an Era receiver and fell incomplete in the end zone with 1:11 remaining in the game.

The Bulldogs scored first as they returned an Era punt 70 yards for a touchdown with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter. With the successful PAT the Bulldogs led 7-0.

After a short drive by the Hornet offense the Era punt team made up for the poor coverage on the first punt by jarring the ball loose from the Bulldog return man and recovering the fumble setting up an R.J. Metzler to Trey Dunn 13-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good and with 2:50 left in the first quarter the game was tied 7-7.

The Bulldogs regained the lead on their next possession by scoring on a 40-yard touchdown pass. With the extra point the Bulldogs led 14-7 with 2:12 remaining in the first quarter.

The Hornets responded at the 10:11 mark of the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run by R.J. Metzler. However the PAT failed and the Hornets trailed 14-13.

Offenses for both Millsap and Era continued to move the ball the remainder of the second quarter, however both defenses refused to break and the score remained 14-13 at the half.

The beginning of the second half was a struggle for the Hornets. Within the first 2:12 of the second half the Hornets were penalized three times for 35 yards. The Bulldogs took advantage of the Hornet penalties and scored again on a 15-yard touchdown rush with 7:18 remaining in the third quarter. With another successful PAT the Bulldog lead stood at 21-13.

The Hornets refused to go away. On the ensuing offensive possession the Hornets took 2:50 to drive 64 yards. Gates Anderson led the Hornet drive with 44 yards rushing on just two attempts. The drive was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by R.J. Metzler. With the score now 21-19 the Hornets went for two. The Hornet ball carrier was stopped just inches short of the goal line and the score remained 21-19 in favor of the Bulldogs.

On the Hornets first offensive series of the fourth quarter, they moved the ball from their own 23-yard line into Bulldogs territory when Hornets starting quarterback R.J. Metzler was injured and left for the remainder of the game. The drive subsequently ended with the Hornets turning the ball over on an interception which the Bulldogs returned to their own 42-yard line.

The Bulldog offense took advantage of the turnover and drove 58 yards for a touchdown with 6:00 remaining in the game. The Hornets still refused to go away as the Hornets blocked the extra point which was scooped up by Nathan Metzler and returned 20 yards before he pitched the ball to Justin Lance who was tripped up by the last defender and the score stood at 27-19 in favor of the Bulldogs.

The Hornets continued to battle and on their next offensive possession with 5:37 remaining in the game the Hornets began a gutsy 11-play drive led by backup quarterback Nathan Metzler. Facing a fourth and nine at midfield, Nathan Metzler completed a 14-yard pass to James Rust to keep the drive alive. Nathan Metzler then hooked up with Daniel Kirby for another completion for 5 yards. After a 5-yard run by Gates Anderson moved the ball to the Millsap 25-yard line, Nathan Metzler ran for 16 yards setting the Hornets up with a first and goal at the Bulldog 9-yard line. After three plays the Hornets found themselves facing a fourth and goal from the 5-yard line and needing a touchdown and 2-point conversion to tie the game. However with 1:11 remaining in the game Nathan Metzler’s pass glanced off of the hands of a Hornet receiver in the endzone and the Hornets turned the ball over on downs and the Bulldogs were able to run out the clock and survive 27-19.

The Hornets were sparked by a good second half rushing performance by Gates Anderson who rushed for 49 yards on just six carries. While only playing a little over three quarters, R.J. Metzler led the Hornets rushing attack with 70 yards rushing on 16 attempts and 2 touchdowns. R.J. Metzler also led the Hornets passing attack with 137 yards passing while completing 12 of 22 attempts with one touchdown pass.

With the loss the Hornets season record falls to 5-1.

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