By DUSTIN HOLDEN
of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
POMEROY - The Pomeroy Pirates lost a heartbreaker, 54-52, to the Colton-Liberty Christian Wildcats in the closing seconds of Friday night's Southeast 1B action at Lybecker Field.
Running back Tory Knebel amassed 298 yards and four touchdowns in the loss, but the Pirates fell just short thanks to converting only two out of the team's eight two-point conversion tries.
"Those two-point conversions are important and it was definitely proven tonight." Pomeroy coach Sanford Bates said.
"(I'm) not sure what went wrong with all of them," Bates said. "We didn't get it across the goal line, or they made the play at the right time. We haven't really had any problems punching them earlier in the season."
Although they struggled with conversions, the Pirates were still prolific, racking up 549 rushing yards in the track-meet.
"The whole (offensive) line crew did well blocking for our runners," Bates said. "We ran to both sides and scored on both sides of the line."
Pomeroy got out to an early 12-0 lead in the first thanks to two Knebel touchdown runs of 74 and 28 yards.
The Wildcats answered right back, however, with two scores of their own and a successful two-point conversion to make it 14-12 with three minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Quarterback Ryan Smith broke lose for Pomeroy on a 28-yard touchdown dash with a minute left in the first, but again the two-point try failed, pushing the score to 18-14.
After the Wildcats scored on a 13-yard run from Jose Straughan, Smith broke free for another huge touchdown run, this time from 47 yards out. Again the Pirates failed to convert the two-pointer, and Pomeroy took a narrow 26-22 lead into the second half.
The third was fast and furious, with the biggest highlight coming from Pomeroy's Jacob Moore, who returned a kick-off 85 yards to open the half.
Both teams scored twice in the third, the difference being a failed two-point try by Pomeroy.
The Pirates traded scores again in the fourth, with a 91-yard run from Knebel keeping the score close, but Colton-LC came right back and answered with a touch of its own to reach the final score of 56-54.
"It came right down to the last play," Bates said, "but we just didn't make that play."
Fumbles were a problem for the Pirate run-heavy attack, with Pomeroy putting the ball on the ground six times and turning it over twice.
"We didn't have trouble with fumbles before in games this year, but we haven't done much pitching to the backs prior tonight either." Bates said.
Penalties were also a problem for Pomeroy, they racked up seven penalties for 60 yards.
Although the Pirates scored eight touchdowns to the Wildcat's seven, two-point conversions proved to be the difference maker.
"If we had just taken care of the two-point conversions it would have been a whole different ball game," Bates said,
Colton 54, Pomeroy 52
Pomeroy 18 6 22 6 - 52
Colton 14 8 16 16 - 54
Pom - Knebel 74 run (run failed)
Pom - Knebel 28 run (run failed)
Col - Roberston 14 pass from Straughan, Jos (pass failed)
Col - Straughan, Jos 14 run (Devorak pass from Straughan)
Pom - Smith 28 run (run failed)
Col - Straughan, Jos 13 run (Robertson run)
Pom - Smith 47 run (run failed)
Pom - Moore 85 kickoff return (run failed)
Col - Straughan, Jak 8 pass from Straughan, Jos (Straughan, Jak pass from Straughan, Jos)
Col - Abdul 3 run (Robertson run)
Pom - Smith 47 run (Knebel run)
Pom - Knebel 10 run (Smith run)
Col - Straughan, Jak 16 pass from Straughan, Jos (Robertson run)
Pom - Knebel 91 run (run failed)
Col - Abdul 5 run (Robertson run)
First downs 15 16
Rushes/yards 55-549 34-315
Passing yards 0 233
Passes (att-com-int) 0-4-0 19-33-1
Penalties 7-60 4-40
Punts 1-56 2-65
Fumbles-lost 6-2 1-0
RUSHING - Pom: Knebel 28-298, Reisdorph 8-58, Smith 18-196, Atchley 1-(-3). Col: Straughan, Jos. 10- 89, Robertson 17-200, Abdul 7-26.
PASSING - Pom: Smith 0-4, 0 yards. Col: Straughan, Jos. 19-33, 233 yards, 3 touchdowns.
RECEIVING - Col: Robertson 4-59-1. Straughan, Jak. 7-63-2, Devorak 4-28. Abdul 2-45, Becker 1-14.