Titans lose homecoming game

It was homecoming and the Titans of El Paso-Gridley hoped to end their recent skid with a win against Tremont. The Turks would ultimately spoil the festivities, however, as they pulled out a 13-6 victory Friday night.
    “We played better this week than we have the past couple weeks,” EPG head coach Stephen Rigsby said. “I thought our energy was really good and our kids played really hard. We are having a hard time being consistent offensively and it has been a little bit of a struggle for us lately.”
    Both defenses dominated the first half, as each team struggled to get much of anything going offensively. The first three possessions of the game resulted in punts or a turnover on downs.
    On EPG’s second possession of the game, running back Ryne Faulk fumbled to give the Turks another chance to put some points on the board. The Titans defense would hold once again, however, and EPG took over at its own 11-yard line.
    After a few successful runs, the Titans took to the air. EPG quarterback Zach Herr found Faulk streaking down the middle of the field for an 81-yard touchdown connection to break the scoreless tie. The Titans held a 6-0 lead with 9:32 left in the second quarter.
    It would not take Tremont long to respond. Fullback Caiden Buster got the Turks into EPG territory before sophomore Tyler Van Antwerp took a carry up the middle for a 36-yard score with 6:29 left in the second quarter. A successful extra point gave the Turks a 7-6.
    After another EPG punt, the Turks took over with great field position at the 43-yard line of the Titans, but failed to move the ball anywhere. The score would remain 7-6 heading into halftime.
    The second half was much of the same story as the defenses came up big for their respective teams. EPG opened the second half with a punt. The Turks took over with great field position at the 35-yard line of the Titans but were stopped inside the red zone as quarterback Nathan Hately coughed it up to EPG’s Kaden Barth.
    Although this seemed to be a momentum-changing play for the Titans they were again forced to punt after just three plays on offense.
    Another short punt by the Titans again gave the Turks great field position at the EPG 41-yard line. A nice pass play from Hately to Nate Nguyen followed by a few solid runs set up a Hately touchdown from three yards out to extend the Tremont lead to 13-6 with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
    On the ensuing possession the Titans appeared to be in the position to respond. EPG marched down to the 17 yard line of the Turks before a big holding penalty on third down and short forced the Titans to take to the air. Herr was ultimately picked off by Jake Burge to give the Turks the ball back with 9:38 remaining in the game.
    From there, the Turks were able to go on an impressive 16-play, 76-yard drive to run the time out as EPG was forced to burn all three of their timeouts.
    “You have to give them credit,” Rigsby said. “They got the ball back on their end of the field and ran the clock out. If you can do that then there’s a pretty good chance you’re the better team that night.”
    The Titans (2-3) received 58 yards rushing on 13 carries from Faulk, who also had an 81-yard receiving touchdown. Herr finished the game going 5 for 9 for 103 yards and a touchdown. He also had one interception.
    The Turks (2-3) were led on the night by Buster, who finished with 25 carries for 130 yards.
    The Titans will travel to Eureka next Friday to take on the Hornets.