A season marked by several strong competitive efforts continued as the St. James Area football playoff game ended 22-18 in the favor of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton. A halftime deadlock of 6-6 evolved into a four-point spread with the Saints knocking on the door late in the game. T
he contest would end up being the closest score of the 2017 campaign, TMB utilizing an early 2nd half attack to jump ahead 22-6 before SJA came roaring back. With under two minutes remaining, the Saints were facing a 2nd and 1 from the 15-yard-line of the Panthers. Ensuing attempts to score or gain a new set of downs came up short and TMB moved into the next round.
“Our kids fought hard to come back,” said Head Coach Jeff Whitney. “The coach for Tracy was impressed with the team, saying many had written us off because of our record. The competitive level we played at showed the rigor of our competition in the regular season despite our record.”
Scoring opened with less than a minute left in the opening period as TMB connected on a 72-yard touchdown pass. The Saints workhorse running back Jack Brey ran in from two yards out to score a few minutes later and the teams would remain deadlocked at intermission. Less than a minute into the 2nd half, the host team notched another score on a 5-yard run and also proved successful with the ever-important two-point conversion. A three-yard pass that followed quick possessions for both teams, with another successful two-point conversion, pushed the margin to 22-6 in favor of the Tracy squad. A late rally started with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Kobe Mohwinkel to Parker Jones but the failed conversion kept the score at 22-12. The grab by Jones was his 8th touchdown catch of the season, tying him with Colby Rogers who set the record in 2011. Jones, a junior, established himself as a receiver with size and skill that few defensive backs could match this season. After another TD pass, this time going from Mohwinkel to Derrick Halverson for 11 yards, narrowed the score to 22-18. On par for the day, St. James was unable to cross the goalline on the two-point attempt. Halverson paced the SJA receiving corps with 8 catches for 74 yards, combining a solid frame with outstanding speed.
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