Eagles Season Ends With Loss To St. James

A difficult season rife with growing pains ended Friday in the first round of the Class 3 District 3 tournament.

The eighth-seeded Eagles lost to top-seeded St. James 49-7. St. James advanced to the semifinal for a rematch against Owensville.

For the first time since Week 6 against Hermann, the Eagles had running back Blaine Blankenship, who had a strong game. Sullivan had some success running out of the wishbone Friday, utilizing Blankenship and senior running backs Balor Bartolotta and Lucas Cottrell.

Blankenship’s 31-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter was Sullivan’s only score.

Sullivan struggled with turnovers and gave up field position to the Tigers, who mostly kept the ball on the ground, but had success through the air.

Quarterback Ryan Harlan found Cade Snitker over the middle for a 43-yard touchdown catch just two plays into the game.

The Eagles fumbled the ball on their second play and St. James set up at the Sullivan 27. On third-and-goal, Harlan scrambled left and outran Sullivan’s defenders for a 2-yard touchdown run, giving the Tigers a 14-0 lead with 9:03 to play.

Sullivan’s defense stopped the Tigers on a fourth down on their next drive and a couple of first down runs from Blankenship pushed them into St. James territory. The drive stalled on an incomplete pass on third down, forcing a punt.

St. James began the next drive at their own 27. Snitker caught a 10-yard pass from Harlan on third-and-five to keep the chains moving. Seams ripped off a 17-yard run on the next play and later on, a penalty on Sullivan moved the ball to the Eagles 15. Three plays later, Harlan’s 3-yard touchdown run with 9:05 left in the half gave St. James a 21-0 lead.

Sullivan turned the ball over on a fumble on their next drive, but the defense forced a punt. The Eagles would give up a safety when a snap to Will Allen on a punt attempt went over his head. Allen downed the ball in the end zone and St. James took a 23-0 lead.

The Tigers would get the ball back and score on a four-play, 37-yard drive when Seams ran for a touchdown. St. James took a 30-0 lead with 3:30 to go in the half.

Sullivan threatened on the ensuing drive. St. James committed a pair of personal foul penalties to move the ball all the way from the St. James 47 to the St. James 20. St. James defense turned the Eagles away and derailed their chance at a score.

Sullivan was set to begin the second half with the ball, but on the kickoff, the Eagles went to let the ball go out of bounds. Instead, it bounced forward and St. James recovered at the Sullivan 21. Harlan opened the first of three third quarter St. James scores with a 5-yard touchdown run. Harlan hit Carter Keeney with a 45-yard touchdown pass on the next drive, then Grant Conway ran for a 6-yard touchdown to give St. James a 49-0 lead.

Blankenship put Sullivan on the board 30 seconds into the fourth quarter with a touchdown run, his fifth of the season.

Sullivan Independent News

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