BETHALTO -- The Civic Memorial Eagles earned a close Mississippi Valley Conference win over the Waterloo Bulldogs on Friday night at Lewis Hauser Field in Bethalto in a contest that featured plenty of twists and turns.
The Eagles defeated the Bulldogs 20-15 in the Homecoming contest. CM improved to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the MVC with the win.
The first quarter and the early portion of the second quarter featured lots of offense. The Eagles established a credible run game in their first drive.
Camryn Gerhardt’s 48-yard punt return put CM on Waterloo’s 40-yard line. Seven plays later, Gerhardt carried the ball into the end zone on a four-yard run. Trevor Panyik’s extra point gave the Eagles a 7-0 advantage.
“I thought it was a real good, solid football game,” Eagles coach Mike Parmentier said. “The offenses looked like they were going to take over the game and then the defenses started shutting things down. Our running game was good enough to get the job done.”
However, the Bulldogs quickly mounted a comeback. An 11-play, 60-yard drive capped off by a seven-yard run into the end zone by quarterback Ross Schrader made the score 7-6 CM. The Eagles maintained a one-point lead due to a blocked extra point attempt.
CM had good field position in its next drive, as it started on its own 45-yard line with 3:19 left to go in the first quarter. The Eagles led 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Running back Nick Newell carried the ball two-yards into the end zone at the 10:02 mark in the second quarter. Panyik’s extra point gave CM a 14-6 lead.
After the Eagles’ second touchdown, a defensive struggle ensured for the rest of the first half. On the Bulldog’s next possession, they failed to work the ball into CM territory. Then the Eagles failed to work the ball into Waterloo territory on their next possession.
The Bulldogs scored on a safety at the 2:46 mark in the second quarter due to CM’s snap out of the end zone, as the Eagles led 14-8. A quality punt from Waterloo’s Austin Patton meant the Eagles started the drive on their own nine-yard line. The Bulldog’s defense pushed the Eagles back on the next few plays. CM held a 14-8 halftime lead.
Waterloo (5-3, 2-2 MVC) established its first lead at the 7:52 mark in the third quarter after a touchdown from Kyle Knefelkamp and an extra point from Tyson Roedi, as the Bulldogs led 15-14.
The Eagles turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, but seconds later a recovered punt from Shane Spell gave CM the ball on Waterloo’s 39-yard line. Five plays later, quarterback Brayden Pierce connected on a 26-yard pass with wide receiver David Lane who ran the ball five-yards into the end zone.
“We thought we had the momentum there,” Waterloo coach Dan Rose said. “But the momentum switched.”
Parmentier said Spell’s punt recovery was huge.
“It was kind of a momentum game here and there,” he said. “It seemed like who had the ball last would win it.”
The Eagles worked the clock in their second to last offensive possession of the contest. The possession started on the 1:42 mark in the third quarter and concluded in the 4:15 mark in the fourth quarter. CM worked the ball down to Waterloo’s 20-yard line but couldn’t push the ball into the end zone. A touchdown from running back Corey Price was called back due to an Eagles’ holding penalty.
“I thought our offense did a good job of timely possessions tonight,” Parmentier said. “I don’t know what it was, but we had the ball an awful lot. We tackled a lot better tonight, I thought we still made a few mistakes we need to fix. I think we’re pretty healthy, we got through another week.”
On its next possession, Waterloo worked the ball down to CM’s 33-yard line, but it couldn’t earn a first down conversion on a fourth and 13 play with 1:59 to play. The Eagles controlled the time for the rest of the game and held out for a win. Price rushed for 95 yards in the game.
“In my four years here I’ve never won a Homecoming game,” Price said. “This is the first Homecoming game I’ve won. Coming off of a hard loss and losing conference, it’s great.”
The Eagles will return to action at 7 p.m next Friday with a home contest against Triad.