With the game in the balance, Pacific made the plays down the stretch to win its opening football game of the season.
Tanner Brown rushed for two touchdowns on offense and Jeff Hinkle intercepted two passes on defense, returning one of them for a touchdown, as the Indians won at home over the Dragons, 28-21.
“We played well. We made some mistakes that we need to get hashed out, but we got the victory, so we’re happy about that,” said Pacific Head Coach George Hinkle. “It’s good to get the first win under our belt.”
Pacific (1-0) trailed 14-0 after one quarter and 21-14 at halftime, but wore down De Soto during the second half.
With the score tied 21-21 in the fourth quarter, Hinkle intercepted a pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Indians the lead for good.
De Soto (0-1) got one more chance to tie it late in the game, but another interception by Hinkle sealed Pacific’s victory.
“The kids showed a lot of character coming back after falling behind,” Hinkle said. “We made some adjustments and improved throughout the game. I was impressed with the way our kids came back.”
Pacific accumulated 221 total yards against De Soto, 149 rushing and 72 passing.
Quarterback Eain Roberts was 6-14 passing for 72 yards with one interception. He also carried the ball 12 times for 81 yards and one touchdown.
Brown, playing his first varsity contest, carried the ball 10 times for 57 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Josh Vondriska finished with two receptions for eight yards and rushed for six yards on one carry.
Caleb Moman carried the ball three times for five yards.
Chris Klenke had three catches for 36 yards.
Lane Smith added one reception for 28 yards.
“We can always play better offensively. We punted too many times. We controlled the ball better in the third quarter,” Hinkle said. “I’m excited about the game Tanner had. He’s a hard-working young man who is starting to understand the game more.”
Defensively, Devon Moultrie paced Pacific with six solo tackles and one assist.
Logan Wells added five solos, three assists and recovered a fumble. Klenke had five solos.
Dalton Voyles finished with four solos and four assists. Scott Brandt had four solos and one assist.
Hinkle collected three solo tackles and the two interceptions. Jason Koepke also had an interception.
Scott Roberts and Vondriska both had fumble recoveries. Allen Fitzgerald and Vondriska both had a sack.
“Defensively, we did a good job after giving up two first-quarter touchdowns,” Hinkle said. “Jeff made two big plays with the interceptions. He scored on one and had a chance to score on the other.”
Pacific hits the road for a week two contest at Potosi Friday at 7 p.m.
The Trojans (0-1) lost their opener to Carnahan, 41-32.
“Potosi put up a lot of points last week. They have good athletes and good speed. We’ve had good battles with them in the past,” Hinkle said. “Our schedule gets tougher as we go along. We have to continue to get better, limit our mistakes and be ready to play.”
De Soto grabbed a 14-0 lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Garrett Keath to Lamont Allen and Jeremy Edwards, respectively.
The Indians tied the game in the second quarter 14-14 on touchdown runs of one and three yards by Brown.
The Dragons led 21-14 at halftime after Keath raced 73 yards for a touchdown.
Pacific tied the game 21-21 midway through the third quarter on an 18-yard touchdown run by Eain Roberts.
With the game tied 21-21, Pacific took the lead for good when Hinkle picked off a pass and returned it for the touchdown.
De Soto 14-7-0-0-21
D-Lamont Allen 38 pass from Garrett Keath, 10:51
D-Jeremy Edwards 20 pass from Keath, :33
P-Tanner Brown 1 run (Mitchell Broam kick), 9:38
P-Brown 3 run (Broam kick), 5:53
D-Keath 73 run, 5:31
P-Eain Roberts 18 run (Broam kick), 6:12
P-Jeff Hinkle 45 interception return (Broam kick), 2:08