BRISTOW — The results were the same, but Miami head coach Zach Gardner was pretty please with what he saw during a 43-23 loss to fourth-ranked Bristow here Friday, Nov. 8.
“I was pleased with the way we keep the game in check,” Gardner said.
The loss was the ninth straight for the Wardogs, who were winless in their seven District 4A-3 games.
The Pirates clung to a 22-3 lead and MHS had a chance to shave that down, but a drive that had reached the Bristow 8 just before the half end in a fumble.
Three plays into the third quarter, quarterback Karson Jinks threw an interception that the Pirates returned 60 to really turn the tide.
“We left a lot of points on the board,” Gardner said. “We were content to go for the field goal right before the half and we get blindsided and fumble it. The way Skyler (Judd) was kicking, giving us opportunities, we thought for sure we could go in 22-6 half and possibly be a two- or three-score different game.
“Then we came out in the second half and throw the pick 6 to make it 29-3.”
That’s when the momentum started going Bristow’s way, Gardner felt.
“Other then that, it may have been one of those deals where they possibly overlooked us knowing what our record was and things,” he said.
Miami’s three points in the first half came on a 26-yard field goal by Judd with 2:44 left in the first quarter.
That cut the gap to 8-3, but the Pirates countered less than a minute later on a 45-yard touchdown run by Jalen Fullbright.
“I was very pleased with the way we competed,” Gardner said. “I know they were kinda conservative in the second half, knowing they had post-season play yet, but I feel our kids gave them all they wanted in the first half.”
Miami got its other 23 points in the span of seven minutes in the fourth quarter.
Josh Thronebury connected with Keaton Jinks on a 21-yard pass at 8:19, Thronebury had a 22-yard run with 4:57 remaining and Gavin Payton and Seth Swingle teamed on a 15-yard strike with 68 seconds left in the game.
“I was proud to be a Wardog with the way the kids showed up and gave it their all,” Gardner said. “It was a good way to go out I guess you would say if you were going to take a loss. I would rather take that one than some of the games where we lost that we should have won.”
Of the nine losses, four were by a touchdown.
Miami held a lopsided 76-31 edge in total offensive plays and outgained the Pirates 336-256.
Bristow coughed the ball up nine times, losing six of those.
“The staff gave the kids the opportunity to compete and I felt we competed about as well as we could with a team like that,” Gardner said, noting that several freshmen started for an injury-depleted Wardog team. Five starters missed the game.
Thronebury ran for 119 yards on 13 carries and Gabe McCleary finished with 116 yards on 21 attempts.
The Wardogs had only 78 yards passing on 12 completions.