Republic unleashed a furious comeback to end the 1st half, but key mistakes stopped their momentum as they lost at Branson 42-28.
The Tigers looked demoralized and outmanned midway through the 2nd quarter, trailing 21-0. Then junior quarterback Zach Hall entered the game. Hall and the Tigers ripped off 21 points in the final 4:27 of the half, and the game was tied at 21 going into the break.
Republic’s first touchdown came on a touchdown pass from Zach Hall to Beau Allen on 4th and goal play from the 9-yard line. That TD was set up by two long pass plays — one to Grant Hancock and another to TJ Ray, who made a diving catch along the right sideline.
Republic’s defense came alive after the score, and Republic quickly got it back. Kerik Crouse tore off a 59-yard run to get the Tigers within a touchdown with 1:03 left in the half. That scoring drive was 77 yards in five plays.
On the Tigers’ next possession, James Desjardins ran the ball in from three yards out as time expired in the half.
The teams traded defensive stops to start the half and Republic looked to have the momentum when Branson muffed a punt. The Tigers took over deep in Branson territory, but failed to capitalize when the Pirates intercepted the ball at the goal line.
Another big momentum swing came after Republic’s defense forced a second stop of the half. Branson kicked the ball away from deep in its own territory, but the kick rolled to the other end of the field, switching the field position around in Branson’s favor.
The Pirates took advantage, with Jordan Bailey helping Branson retake the lead on a 28-yard run. That made the score 28-21.
Shortly after, Republic muffed a punt and Branson recovered the ball inside the Tigers’ 10-yard line. Isaiah Daniels punched the ball in from the 1-yard line to extend the lead to 35-21.
After another turnover — a pickoff of a Zach Hall pass at midfield — Branson drove for another score. Devin Turner’s touchdown reception made the score 42-21.
The Tigers didn’t quit. They scored one last time on an 8-yard pass from Hall to Grant Hancock, but it was too little, too late.
Hall completed 17 of 28 passes for 241 yards. He had two touchdowns and threw two interceptions.
Beau Allen had 7 catches for 72 yards, TJ Ray caught 2 passes for 63 yards, and Grant Hancock caught two passes for 44 yards. Desjardins rushed for 45 yards and caught 3 passes for 37 yards.
Kerik Crouse was the Tigers’ leading rusher with 86 yards.