Homer 26, Beekman 12
Beekman played arguably its best half of football in program history. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the second half was an uphill struggle.
Down 12-0 at the break, Homer scored twice in the first four minutes of the second half en route to a 26-12 victory Friday night at Keith Huntsman Field.
"It was a tale of two halves," Beekman coach Joey Lee said. "We won the first half. They won the second half. We have to be able to play a whole game."
Taking over at their own 49 after an unsuccessful onside kick, the Pelicans (2-0) immediately began to assert themselves. Circling around the left edge, quarterback Star Thomas cut the deficit in half with a 26-yard scamper on the fifth play of the series.
Beekman went three and out on its initial series of the half. Brayden Spigner's 40-yard punt and an illegal block on the return backed the visitors up to the 10.
From there, Xavier Webb dashed 90 yards untouched. Thomas kept on the conversion to give Homer the lead, 14-12, just over four minutes into the third quarter.
Beekman (1-1) would never regain the momentum.
"It's hard for us to match their athleticism and speed with so many guys going both ways," Lee said. "They had guys going both ways, too. Hard work beats talent, but sometimes talent beats hard work."
Taron Traylor's 29-yard kickoff return gave the Tigers good field position at the Homer 49.
Beekman was able to pick up a pair of first downs, advancing to the 26 on Brock Jenkins' 15-yard pass to Michael Bradley.
Three plays later, Dayvion Webb forced a fumble on a sack, turning the ball back over to the Pelicans at the 36.
Courtney Lovett's 14-yard gain was good for a first down, but Pierce Hayman forced an intentional grounding call on the next snap to disrupt the series.
Beekman started from its own 15 after the punt, and Josh Petty moved the chains with an 11-yard gain. The drive would soon stall, and Thomas returned a low punt 23 yards to the BCS 28.
Xavier Webb carried for 25 yards to the 3-yardline on first down, and Thomas took it in from there as Homer expanded its lead to 20-12 with 11:26 to play.
Bradley returned Kameria Alford's kickoff 12 yards to the 31.
Beekman's drive started on a promising note as Petty hauled in back-to-back passes for 19 and 16 yards.
With the Tigers facing fourth-and-one from the 25, Jenkins sneaked for three yards and another first down at the 22.
Two incomplete passes later, Dayvion Webb's sack resulted in a loss of four. Next, Torrie Mackey forced a hurried pass on fourth down, and the Pelicans regained possession at their own 26 with 7:40 to play.
Thomas kept for 18 yards on first down as the Pelicans pressed ahead to the 26 before James Foster pounced on a fumble to keep Beekman's hopes alive.
After a holding penalty backed the Tigers up to the 11, Grant's pick-6 was negated by an illegal block.
However, the Pelicans maintained possession on the turnover at the Beekman 20.
Thomas' 12-yard run set up first-and-goal at the 8.
Hayman, Xavier Lewis and Scott McMath combined to drop Thomas for a lot of three, bringing up third-and-goal from the 7. On the following snap, fullback John Watts barreled straight ahead for the game-clinching touchdown with 3:12 on the clock.
"We controlled the game in the first half," Lee said. "In the second half, we struggled offensively moving the ball."
The numbers back Lee's analysis.
Beekman held a decisive 194-35 edge in total offense at the break, after rushing for 141 yards and passing for 53.
Over the next 24 minutes, Homer rushed for 190 yards while holding the Tigers to 81 total yards, including negative-1 rushing.
Taking over at quarterback the entire second half, Thomas was the Star of the second half (no pun intended). Besides rushing for two touchdowns, he set up another score with a long punt return.
"He would just sit there, wait for a hole, and run," Lee said of Thomas.
Beekman played keep away in the first quarter, holding a 20-3 edge in offensive plays.
"When you control the ball the entire quarter, things are going great," Lee said.
Receiving the opening kickoff, the Tigers turned the ball over on downs at the Homer 40.
Ethan Craft's second down sack for a loss of 10 forced the Pelicans into a punting situation.
Starting from their own 22, the Tigers crossed midfield behind the running of fullbacks Seth Meyers and Dalon Moore.
Facing fourth-and-goal from the 26, Meyers' 12-yard reception was good for a fresh set of downs at the 20.
Jenkins then kept twice for 15 yards and a first down at the 5.
Traylor's 5-yard run on the first play of the second quarter capped the 13-play, 78-yard drive as the Tigers forged ahead 6-0.
Lewis' fumble recovery ended Homer's next series at the Beekman 33.
After an empty possession, the Pelicans took over at their own 31.
Three plays netted two yards, bringing on the punting unit. Taking off to the right side after a high snap, Alford galloped 15 yards for a first down at the Beekman 38 on the impromptu fake punt.
With the Pelicans facing third-and-six from the 34, Moore's third down sack for an 18-yard loss led to a punt.
Bradley's 17-yard punt return put the Tigers in business at their own 44.
Jenkins' 14-yard pass to Ethan White and Meyers' 11-yard run produced back-to-back first downs at the 29.
Seven plays later, Jenkins kept from three yards out, upping the Tigers' lead to 12-0 with 1:23 remaining before halftime.
Beekman returns to action Friday night in Sibley against Lakeside.