By Mark Jurgena
T-T Sports Contributor
In all likelihood, the initial season of the River City Sharks – the semipro football team based in Collinsville – came to a close Saturday evening at Cory Wilson Memorial Field in a strange way.
In their Mid-Central Football League South Division playoff opener, they were tied with the St. Louis Falcons 0-0 with 12:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. River City had driven to the STL six-yard line when both teams requested game officials check each other’s rosters for ineligible players.
After an onfield meeting between the coaches and the officials, the men in the striped shirts left the field and the game was suspended. An official ruling on the outcome of the game by the MCFL office was expected early this week. However, nothing was official as of press time.
Last Saturday’s game was suspended after River City’s best drive of the day which began with the Sharks forcing a turnover.
With STL driving late in the third quarter, the RC defense came up with a pair of tackles for loss. On the second TFL, the Sharks were able to strip the ball away and Demeetrie Beach came up with the recovery returning it 22 yards to the STL 45.
After a first-down incompletion, RC running back Titus Baker ran off right tackle and down the sideline for a huge 35-yard gain down to the STL 20.
Baker followed that with a 13-yard run to make it first-and-goal at the seven-yard line.
At that point, the debate over eligibility began.
Aside from that game-finishing RC drive the only other sustained drive was a 13-play venture by the Falcons that ended on an incomplete pass in the end zone. The ball was knocked away from the intended receiver by the Sharks Andre Chandler.
Saturday’s contest was a defensive struggle exactly like the two regular season meetings between the two rivals. River City had beaten STL both times.
Tackles for loss were prevalent on both sides. The Sharks had eight TFLs for a total of 70 lost yards by the Falcons. STL countered with 11 TFLs for a total of 57 yards lost by RC.
Both teams committed two turnovers with the Sharks killing a Falcon drive late in the first quarter thanks to an interception by Keith Austin. He returned it back to midfield thanks to blocking from Darion Reed and Brad Rice.
Reed had a solid game defensively with nine tackles and broke up a Falcons pass attempt.
For the Sharks on offense, Baker had ten carries for 107 yards rushing however with all the lost yardage RC gained only 76 total yards. STL had a total of 85 yards.
For the game, on third down, both teams went 3-for-9 while on 4th down St. Louis was 1-for-2 and RC went 0-for-1.
River City’s record was 5-5 overall before Saturday’s game.
If a winner is declared from Saturday’s game they will travel to Indianapolis to face the number two ranked team in the MCFL the Indy Bison. The Indiana squad beat both Metro St. Louis teams by a combined score of 81-0 in their two meetings this season.
If no winner occurs, the Bison will move to the MCFL championship game the following week to face the North Division winner. This Saturday the number one ranked Engelwood Bird Gang hosts the Michigan Hurricanes.