PLAINFIELD — The Plainfield Quakers were able to hold high-scoring Martinsville without a point for a quarter. However, the Artesians took advantage of key Plainfield mistakes to break out for a three-touchdown lead before time ran out on the Quakers’ late rally, spoiling Senior Night for the Plainfield Class of 2014 with a 39-28 loss.
Plainfield came into the second half down just 14-6 despite some missed opportunities. But the game firmly shifted to the Martinsville side when Trey Deaton returned the second-half kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, and followed that with a 49-yard reception to set up another TD in the Artesians’ first two possessions of the second half.
Seeing Martinsville score so quickly, especially on the kickoff return, was a sore spot for Plainfield coach Brian Woodard as he assessed the end result.
“We had a number of mistakes at critical times,” Woodard said. “It was unforced errors, and that was the issue. We had hoped to consume as much clock as we could because Martinsville could score in bunches. Mistakes cripple you against good teams.”
Martinsville, paced by quarterback Mason Kutruff, displayed a spread offense that could strike for both big plays and long drives filled with passing. Kutruff proved exceptional in throwing for four touchdowns and 298 yards as the Artesians built up a lead too big for the Quakers to overcome.
Plainfield could never get an upper hand in the contest, and had to play from behind. At the same time, Martinsville was able to make Plainfield pay for some of the mistakes.
The Quakers missed out on a first-quarter scoring opportunity when their second possession stalled at the Martinsville 4-yard line and they came away scoreless. Meanwhile, Martinsville was aided by a Quaker offside penalty on fourth down on the way to Kutruff connecting with Zak Miranda on a 6-yard scoring pass to put the first points up in the second quarter.
Kutruff found Dallas Forler for a 16-yard scoring catch late in the first half, but Plainfield had an answering score as Brady Nichols connected with Garrett Patton to make it 14-6 at the break.
That deficit ballooned to 28-6 after Deaton had the kickoff return and Kutruff hit Forler for a second touchdown pass, this time a 5-yard slant.
But, credit Plainfield for not giving up.
“We have been digging ourselves holes and trying to climb out of it,” Woodard said. “It is not an effort issue or a heart issue. It is an execution issue.”
Quaker sophomore running back Jacob Maple was hard to stop after halftime as he ran for 152 of his 237 rushing yards in the second half. Maple finished off a 96-yard scoring drive with the final three yards. Later, he broke off a 69-yard scoring dash and two-point conversion that closed the Martinsville lead to 36-28 with 9:35 to go.
It was not enough, as Martinsville stalled the last three Plainfield possessions for just a single first down. The Artesians also had Cole Reichard tack on a 21-yard field goal for insurance late in the final quarter.
That closed the Quakers out of the 2013 regular season at 4-5, and under a four-game losing skid heading into the sectional opener against Lebanon (7-2).
“We need to keep in perspective that we have not lost to cupcakes, but our record shows who we are,” Woodard said. “I still think we are a good football team, and hopefully we get a chance to prove that.”