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East Prairie blazes past St. Pius X 51-15 in district opener

Saturday, October 22, 2016

East Prairie's Deverence Jones leaps into the end zone against St. Pius X Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, at East Prairie High School during the first round of the Class 2, District 1 tournament.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
EAST PRAIRIE -- A slow start against St. Pius X on Friday couldn't hamper East Prairie in their pursuit for the Class 2, District 1 championship.

Racking up 526 yards of total offense, the third-seeded Eagles scored 44 points in the second and third quarters combined to down the No. 6 Lancers 51-15 in the opening round of the district tournament.

East Prairie's Derez Tipler leaps for an interception in front of St. Pius receivers Dustin Burch (3) and Jalen Thornton (4) Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, during the first round of the Class 2, District 1 tournament at East Prairie High School.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
"We came out the first couple minutes of the first quarter really slow," East Prairie senior Deverence Jones said. "We've been working on that in practice, but I feel like overall we played really well. As the quarter progressed we started to pick up and get in the groove of things. We finished really strong."

Jones was a big reason for the Eagles' turnaround after ending the first quarter tied 7-7. He rushed for four scores and 220 yards on just 14 carries in the game while also throwing a 59-yard touchdown.

Though he only rushed twice in the second half, both went for scores from 50 and 60 yards. He averaged 15.7 yards-per-carry and accounted for 289 yards of offense.

"He's hitting his stride at the right time," Eagles head coach Chad Jamerson said of Jones. "We're very fortunate that we have some really good playmakers. The story of the night I think is how well the offensive line played and how we were able to involve them in the offense. Chad Housman was involved in the offense. Nate Owens was involved in a two-point conversion. Our line is really what carries this offense. Without those big boys we don't do what we can do."

Less than a minute into the second quarter Jones put his team ahead for good with an 8-yard run that capped a 53-yard drive.

Quarterback Carson Aycock made it a two-score game when he found Casey Gregory for a 56 yard pass with seven minutes left in the half.

East Prairie's Jared Sneeringer (61) watches the game from the sidelines Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, at East Prairie High School during the first round of the Class 2, District 1 tournament.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
An interception by the Eagles defense with just over a minute before the break gave East Prairie another chance to keep separating themselves. A 70-yard drive culminated with a Derez Tipler three-yard touchdown run as time expired and the two-point conversion making it 29-7.

A 50-yard score from Jones on the first play of the second half made it 36-7. His 59-yard halfback pass to Gregory with 8:06 left in the quarter effectively iced the game at 44-7, setting the turbo-clock into effect.

It always didn't look like smooth sailing for the Eagles, who drew seven penalties in their first two drives. Four of which were false starts.

"Instead of being unfocused I think we came out more excited being the playoffs and the first round of districts," Jones said of his team's slow start. "If we can channel that excitement between the whistles we would have done a lot better. Our plan is always to get outside. Whenever we got our edge blocks we made more things happen."

On defense, East Prairie held the Lancers to 192 yards, including 52 yards rushing on 21 attempts. The Eagles picked off St. Pius quarterbacks Luke Lampros and Elliot Fischer a combined three times and looked to have a fourth until an inadvertent whistle erased the play.

East Prairie's Deverence Jones leaps over a pile of teammates and St. Pius X players Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, at East Prairie High School during the first round of the Class 2, District 1 tournament.
(Chris Pobst/Standard Democrat)
"We've struggled against teams that run the spread (like St. Pius)," Jamerson said. "We've done decent with teams loading the box and giving us an opportunity to go man-to-man. But when we've faced spread teams throughout the season we've struggled. Tonight the kids really answered the bell against a pretty decent passing attack."

East Prairie had four quarterbacks combine for 168 yards through the air on 6 of 14 passing. Gregory was the leading receiver with his only two catches both going for scores and combining for 115 yards.

The road doesn't get any easier Friday for the Eagles when they travel to Caruthersville to play the second-seeded Tigers, who took out Kelly 71-0 in another quarterfinal, in the semifinals.

In their last postseason meeting, Caruthersville (7-3) ended East Prairie's season 49-26 in the 2014 district semifinals.

"Caruthersville is a tough place to play because they're a great team with great coaching and great community support," Jamerson said. "It's always difficult to go down there, especially with their history and talent they've been able to produce. We're going to development a game plan, go out and give it our best effort. Hopefully we'll match up well and give everybody an entertaining game."

St. Pius 7008-15
East Prairie722210-51

First Quarter

E -- Deverence Jones 27 run (Chad Housman kick good), 9:03

S -- Jalen Thorton 17 pass Luke Lampros (Ben Breeze kick good), 1:15

Second Quarter

E -- Deverence Jones 8 run (Chad Housman kick good), 11:11

E -- Casey Gregory 56 pass from Carson Aycock (Chad Housman kick good), 7:03

E -- Derez Tipler 3 run (Chad Housman run good), 0:00

Third Quarter

E -- Deverence Jones 50 run (Chad Housman kick good), 11:49

E -- Casey Gregory 59 pass from Deverence Jones (Jack Scruggs pass from Nate Owens good), 8:06

E -- Deverence Jones 60 run (Chad Housman kick good), 3:11

Fourth Quarter

S -- Seth Ervin 5 run (Luke Lampros run good), 3:23


Total yards 192526
Passing yards140168


Rushing -- St. Pius, Elliot Fischer 1-6, Luke Lampros 11-27, Seth Ervin 6-10, James Lehn 3-9. East Prairie, Deverence Jones 14-220, Luke Marcum 5-16, Blake Copeland 3-22, Derez Tipler 4-38, Carson Aycock 2-1, Brian Shoffner 2-17, Chad Housman 1-21, Casey Gregory 1-16, No. 16 2-6, Noah Groves 1-1, Tyler McCurter 2-8, Blade Turner 1-0, Marshall Story 1-4.

Passing -- St. Pius, Luke Lampros 6-14-1 51, Elliot Fischer 6-11-2 89. East Prairie, Carson Aycock 4-9-0 104, Derez Tipler 1-2-0 5, Deverence Jones 1-1-0 59, No. 16 0-2-0 0.

Receiving -- St. Pius, Jalen Thorton 5-70, Matt Lober 1-0, Ryan Almany 3-33, Carson Fischer 2-10, Ben Breeze 1-27. East Prairie, Derez Tipler 1-38, Casey Gregory 2-115, Deverence Jones 2-10, Mason Bryars 1-5.

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