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When the Prairiland Patriots took the field Friday night on the road against the Como-Pickton Eagles, they did so without head coach Heath Blalock on the sideline to guide them, as he was quarantined at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The players and assistant coaches all rose to the challenge, however, and downed their opponent 34-14 in a total team win.

“At this level, we don’t exactly have big coaching staffs,” defensive coordinator and acting head coach David Hart said. “So I think the job that all the players did, and the job our coaching staff did stepping up, was excellent.”

“To watch our kids step up in an adverse situation on the road at Como’s homecoming, and to find a way to fight through and win is a testament to our kids’ character,” athletic director Steven Weddle added. “It’s really exciting to see them grow as a squad. The coaches did a phenomenal job, too. Coach Hart led the group and they did a fantastic job of getting our kids ready and taking them to another level, even.”

The offense executed with a high level of efficiency, led by senior quarterback Brooks Morrison, who ran for three of his team’s five touchdowns.

“Brooks runs our offense extremely well,” Hart said. “He’s able to read defenses and is a great leader of the offense.”

Though Morrison accounted for 21 of his team’s points, he was far from the only weapon the Patriots turned to over the course of the game. Sophomore Kardadrion Coulter and senior Gavin Watts together with Morrison formed a three-pronged rushing attack that the Eagles had no answer for.

Coulter ran for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Watts ran for 79 yards. Coulter set the tone early with two big first-half runs that ultimately led to scores.

“We were really able to run the ball at will against them,” Hart said. “It was a team effort, because then

The game remained neck-and-neck until the fourth quarter, though, when the Patriots put the Eagles on ice with two touchdowns.

Over the course of the first three games of the season, Morrison has been responsible for seven touchdowns.

As good as the offense was, Hart said, the defense was just as stalwart.

“The defense executed all night,” he said. “So far this year we’ve run a multiple-stack, and we were in a 44-stack and really got after them. They only scored twice and one of those scoring drives came when they started with a very short field.

Next up for Prairiland is Clarksville in their homecoming game, followed by the start to district play against arch-rival Chisum.

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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