• Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Prairie View rebounds from losses with win over Iola

Updated: Oct 27

Buffalo running back Parker Schwarz, right, gets blocking from his teammates as he adds to his 153 yards rushing in Friday's game against Iola. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

The game on Friday between the Prairie View Buffalo football team and the Iola Mustangs had all the earmarks of a grinding defensive battle early in the first quarter.

The Buffalos, still smarting from back-to-back losses to undefeated opponents Girard and Pioneer League champ Wellsville, both with 7-0 records, were looking for a win from a team that, with a 2-4 record, seemed to be a good match-up.

The Mustangs received the opening kickoff, moving the ball upfield in 15 plays that ate up more than six and half minutes of the first quarter. A 1-yard pass play put Iola in the end zone, and with a good point-after attempt, the Mustangs were up 7-0.

Prairie View’s Stevie McGuire caught the kickoff, and had a brilliant run deep into Iola territory until he was hit and the ball went soaring as much as 12 feet into the air. Iola caught the fumble and began a grinding drive. However, after only moving the ball 17 yards on six plays, the Mustangs punted deep into Buffalo territory with McGuire getting it out to the Buffalo 40.

That began a Prairie View drive that would set the tone for the rest of the game. Going to freshman running back Parker Schwarz, or junior back Peyton Doty, or running for yardage himself, junior quarterback Gabe Murillo engineered a 11-play drive that gave Prairie View its first touchdown of the game. An incomplete pass on the two-point conversion and the Buffalos were down 7-6.

A snap over the quarterback’s head on Iola’s next possession and a subsequent sack by Prairie View gave the Mustangs a second and 31 at their own 25. It was too deep of a hole for the Mustangs to recover, and they punted the ball away from their own 28.

Alone behind the Mustang backfield, Buffalo Colten McCrea catches the ball and runs to the Iola 1-yard line for a 35-yard gain. The play set up the Buffalos' third touchdown of the game.

On a 24-yard rushing play, Schwarz moved the Buffalos into Iola territory on the 36. Schwartz continued to be an effective offensive weapon, and Prairie View moved down to the Iola 3. A tackle behind the line of scrimmage set the Buffs on a second down and 9, and from there Murillo kept the ball and added six more points. An incomplete pass on the conversion attempt left Prairie View ahead 12-7.

With only 0:55 left on the clock until halftime, the Mustang took the kickoff to the Prairie View 46, and in a combination of passing and running had the ball first and goal on the Prairie View 5. But the Buffalos kept Iola out of the end zone, and the clock ran out.

The third quarter was all Prairie View. A 22-yard run by Schwartz and a 35-yard pass play from Murillo to sophomore Colten McCrea put the Buffalos on Iola’s 1-yard line with a first down. Murillo punched through the Iola defense for a touchdown, and after another failed attempt a two points, the home team was up 18-7.

Iola went three-and-out on its next possession, and Prairie View returned the punt to their own 34 yard line. A 5-yard penalty on Iola and a 16-yard run by junior back Tanner Meador set up a 29-yard touchdown run by Schwarz. With Murillo connecting on a pass to senior receiver Garret Cullor on the conversion, the Buffalos were up 26-17.

Stevie McGuire, No. 25, gets blocking from Tanner Meador as he head downfield.

The Mustangs and the Buffalos traded turnovers on the next few plays. Cullor picked off a Mustang pass on the Prairie View 24. Two plays later, the Buffalos fumbled the ball on a rushing play, giving Iola possession on the Prairie View 27. Three plays later, McGuire picks off another Mustang pass on the Buffalo 20.

Nine plays later, using a combination of McGuire and Schwarz, Prairie View is on the Iola 1, and Meador runs into the end zone. A kick attempt by the Buffalos is wide, but the Buffs are up 32-7 early in the fourth quarter.

Iola made it to the end zone again in the fourth, but their conversion attempt fails, and Prairie View wins it, 32-13.

Buffalo head coach Kyle Littrell said that overall his team executed very well – quite a bit better than during the loss to Wellsville.

He said that injuries to key players caused some concerns going into the game. With Josh Goodwin out with a swollen knee at tight end, McCrea stepped in to fill that position. And Wayde Cox-Halliburton filled in as quick tackle.

Both of those players did a fine job, Littrell said. But he added that Cox-Halliburton was out sick this week, and so Jacob Law will step into what he called a “revolving door” of players at that position. Law will be the fourth to play that position this year.

Colton McCrea keeps a path open for Tanner Meador as he takes a handoff from quarterback Gabe Murillo.

Schwarz gained 153 yards rushing on 23 carries for an average of 6.7 yards per carry. He also had two touchdowns. Meador had about 6.3 yards per carry in rushing for 25 yards on four carries.

Prairie View put up 340 yards of total offense, with 60 yards passing and 280 yards on the ground. The Buffalos made three of 8 third-down conversions and the Mustangs made six of 15.

Littrell pointed to his team’s solid defense, holding the Mustangs to 191 yards of total offense, with 60 yards in the air and 131 yards rushing.

The Buffalos (3-4) will travel to go head-to-head with the Anderson County Bulldogs (2-5) on Friday. The Bulldogs lost to Iola, 28-14, earlier in the season. Both teams have lost to Burlington, Girard and Wellsville by comparable scores.

What concerns Littrell the most about the Bulldogs is size. And it’s not just this year. Anderson County consistently fields teams that have big players, he said, adding that he expects that team to have tough offensive and defensive lines.

However, if the Buffalos can pull out a win in Garnett, they will maintain third place in the district playoffs, meaning they will play the winner of the Galena and Frontenac game next week.

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