Kelly overcomes early deficit to beat Dons

BENTON — The Doniphan Dons jumped to a 13-0 lead in the first five minutes before the Kelly Hawks recovered on Senior Night to open the season with a 28-13 win behind sophomore running back Reece Eftink and an effective defense that refused to wear down on a hot night.

Eftink ran for three touchdowns in the first half as the Hawks fought back to hold a 22-13 lead after two quarters. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound sophomore led all ball carriers with 156 yards on 17 attempts including TD runs of 4, 48 and 10 yards with the last coming with 7:08 to go in the second quarter.

“I’m proud of our young men to face adversity and fight back. As a coach you preach it but to see it come to fruition is exciting stuff,” said Kelly head coach Lance Powers.

The only points in the second half came on a pair of fourth-quarter field goals by Kelly senior Ty Powers from 28 and 29 yards.

Doniphan found itself in a quick hole when Alzonzo Rios bobbled the opening kick from Powers and was stopped at his own 6-yard-line. But in workman-like fashion the Dons moved 94 yards in 9 plays. Facing fourth down at the Hawks 38, freshman Cliff Hodo entered the game at quarterback and broke free at the 25 to go the distance in just his second touch of the football.

Kelly’s next possession lasted two plays. .Dons tackle Charlie Jones sacked Hawks quarterback Peyton Morgan, causing a fumble that linebacker Carson Leroux scooped up and ran 30 yards for the Dons with 7:08 left in the first quarter. Rios kicked the extra point for a 13-0 lead. Doniphan tried an onside kick but the Hawks recovered at their own 47 to set up a seven-play, 53-yard drive and their first touchdown.

“We had a good run by a freshman quarterback to get us a score, then we get a great defensive score,” said Dons coach Jeremy Stout. “We thought we might have them on the ropes so we tried an onside kick that we thought we might recover and put them away.”

Following a Doniphan punt, Eftink and the Hawks needed just one play to take the lead when Eftink broke free from 48 yards. Powers’ PAT put the Hawks on top to stay at 14-13.

Kelly took over at its own 48 following another Dons punt. Morgan connected with Kyler Ziegler on a 19-yard pass play inside the Dons 20. Doniphan forced fourth-and-1 at the 10 before Eftink also broke loose for the score. The holder for kicks, Eftink also ran for the two-point conversion on a busted play when the snap was low.

Kelly managed 268 yards total offense including 139 on the ground and 129 passing. Morgan completed 5 of 10 passes including three to Ty Powers for 89 yards.

Rios finished with 46 yards rushing on seven carries while Hodo netted 43 on six attempts.

Dons starting quarterback Kris Black completed four of seven attempts for 60 yards including three to Nolan Czerwonka for 49 yards.

Each team had one turnover. Kelly was penalized 8 times for 68 yards while the Dons had three penalties for 41 yards.

Doniphan hosts Kennett next Friday while the Hawks meet Malden.

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