Erie vs. Mead Game Recap

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Photo by Grayson Wolff

Tiger Fans made signs to hype up a highly anticipated game.

Grayson Blalock, Assistant Editor

The way we performed after they got big plays wasn’t good enough.”

— Nate Hackney

ERIE- The 4th ranked Erie Tigers lost a nail-biter to the 1st ranked Mead Mavericks on Friday night, 42-28.

The game started off well for Erie (7-2, 2-2) as junior running back Noah Roper gained chunks of yards all the way down the field before punching it in with a 1 yard rushing touchdown. However, Mead (9-0, 4-0) answered quickly, with a 12 yard run from senior quarterback Tyler Keys.

Both offenses were then each stopped once before Roper broke a 51 yard run to set up a 2 yard touchdown with 2:09 left in the 2nd quarter. Erie may have scored too soon because senior running back Nathan Mackey squeezed in another rushing touchdown from 31 yards out to tie the game at 14 at the half.

Mead got the ball to start the second half and was inside the red zone when Roper tipped a pass, and junior defensive end Nate Hackney intercepted it for his first of the year. When asked what went through his head after making the interception, Hackney said that “I was overwhelmed with excitement”.

Unfortunately, Hackney’s excitement did not translate into a score for the Tigers, as the Mead defense held strong, and forced a Julian Custine punt.

Mead took the game into the 4th quarter on a scoring drive capped by another Mackey touchdown, giving them a lead which they would not relinquish. After Erie went 4 and out on the Mead 20, Mackey had his biggest play of the night, going 80 yards on the first play to put Mead up 28-14. But Erie was not done. Senior Jacob Mansdorfer came in at quarterback and led an Erie touchdown drive punctuated by him running it in from 4 yards out. On the kickoff, Mead’s returner, Dom Esters, fumbled the ball and Erie fell on it at the 21 yard line. Roper quickly picked up his final touchdown of the night with a 9 yard run that would tie the game at 28. But Esters would get redemption on the next drive, catching a 37 yard pass from Keys to put Mead ahead by a touchdown with 2:48 to go. That pass was Keys’ only completion all night.

What happened next will keep the Erie players up all night long. Mead kicked the ball off out of bounds, but was offside on the kick. Coach Cooper passed up having the ball on the 40 in favor of having Mead rekick. From there, a dream game for Erie turned into a nightmare, as Taylor Kamigaki squibbed the ball directly at Ian Vera, and it hit off his chest and into the hands of a Mead player before he had a chance to react. That’s when Mead would capitalize. On 3rd & 1 from the 41, needing 1 yard and a first down to seal the game, Mackey took it all the way to the house for the final score of the night. Dion Lucero threw an interception on Erie’s final drive, and Keys would take a few snaps in the victory formation to make the win official for Mead.

Roper had 219 yards and 3 touchdowns in a losing effort, however, that total is impressive against the usually stout Mead defense, which shut out Holy Family last week. Roper credited his entire performance to his offensive line, made up of 2 seniors (Cameron Marcucci and Gianni Velotta), 2 juniors including Nate Hackney, and a sophomore. He says he could not do anything he does without his line. “They were playing phenomenal tonight.” When asked what Erie could have done better to win the game, Hackney says their response needs to be better. “The way we performed after they got big plays wasn’t good enough.”

Elsewhere in the Tri-Valley, Roosevelt beat Frederick 14-0, and Berthoud beat Holy Family 31-28. Next week has a full slate of rivalry games, as Mead will host Berthoud (6-3, 1-3), and 3 Roosevelt (8-1, 3-1) travels to an unusually bad Holy Family (4-5, 0-4). But the biggest rivalry slated for next Friday night is the annual battle for the Miner’s Trophy between Erie and Frederick (6-3, 1-3). Frederick should watch out, because there is no doubt that Roper, Hackney, and Co. will be ready to snap their losing streak and vault into the state playoffs with a rivalry win.

This game will be streamed live on the Erie Tiger Network at 7:00 next Friday night.

You can watch the archived broadcast of this game HERE.