NOTE: This story was updated on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, to make a correction.
It was an afternoon marked with big plays and costly mistakes as the Piner Prospectors held on for a Homecoming victory over the Healdsburg Greyhounds. The Saturday afternoon game gave Piner their first victory of the year.
Piner came out strong, scoring on their first possession on a 20-yard pass to Natu Hezchias with 6:55 left in the first quarter. Healdsburg answered just 20 seconds later on a 67-yard touchdown run by Trystan Cleaver, the first of his two touchdowns of the day.
Piner scored again with 3:05 left in the first quarter on a 8 yard pass to Austin Nahmens. The remainder of the fist half belonged to the Piner offense who were able to capitalize on two major Healdsburg missteps. The Hounds twice drove to within 5 yards of the goal line only to give away the ball.
Healdsburg’s Cleaver gave the Hounds perfect scoring position on a 50 yard rush to the Piner 4. Tough defense forced a Hound fumble on the two yard line which Piner was able to turn into a touchdown reception by Niko Formosa bringing the score to 21-7 to end the first quarter.
Piner controlled the ball in the second quarter. A run by Andrew Kozel inside the Piner 20 yard line set up a scoring opportunity seconds later on a pass to Tanner Cristando, only to have it called back on a holding penalty. Piner’s Hezchias intercepted a Scott Reynolds pass seconds later, returning it for a 98 yard touch down. Unable to score, the Hounds went into halftime down 28-7.
A one-handed catch to Piner wide receiver Isiah Carter and a long run to the end zone was called back on a holding penalty. Healdsburg’s Reynolds answered with a 37 yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Daniel Schroeder with 7:25 left in the third quarter. A missed kick brought the score to 28-13.
Piner tried to closeout the third quarter on a deep pass to the end zone, only to have it picked-off by Healdsburg’s Justin Smith, who returned the interception 102 yards for a touchdown. The extra point kick brought the score to 28-20.
Showing they weren’t done, Piner QB Noel Hernandez connected with Hezchias for a long pass and race deep into Hound territory. Prospector running back dove over the goal line on a 5 yard rush. the third quarter ended 35-20 Piner.
The final score of the game came on a strong Healdsburg drive early in the fourth which featured long runs by Jared Walker and a leaping reception by Cristando. Cleaver ran the ball in for a 4 yard score. Setting up to kick the extra point, Healdsburg pulled a fake and ran the ball in for a two-point conversion, bringing the score to 35-28.
The Hound defense held the Prospectors the remainder of the game. Costly penalties stymied Healdsburg’s final offensive drive. Piner held on to win the game 35-28.
The Hounds host the El Molino Lions on Nov.2 at Rec Park.