A second-half rally came up short as the Herrin Tigers fell on the road at West Frankfort Friday, 33-28.
With the win, the Redbirds improve to 3-1 in the Ohio Division of the River to River Conference and to 6-1 overall. Herrin falls to 3-1 in the league and 5-2 overall.
The first 24 minutes of the game was all Redbirds as quarterback Connor Eaton scored four touchdowns on runs of 12, 41, 72 and 9 yards.
Madison Allen (143 yards on 24 carries) had the team's other score, a 19-yard run. And although it was Eaton (172 yards on 11 carries and 4-of-4 passing for 47 yards) getting the Lion's share of the glory, it was Allen who methodically ran roughshod through the Herrin defense.
Meanwhile, the Tigers could only score once in the first half - a 17-yard pass play from quarterback Chance Karnes to wideout Billy Braiden.
A second scoring opportunity went by the board when Jeff Rock's TD run was called back on a penalty. Herrin had to settle for a field goal attempt and Jake Baumgarte's boot bounced off the crossbar.
What could have been seven points turned out to be zero. The Redbirds led 33-7 at the intermission.
The Tigers didn't waste any time getting back into the hunt as Rock returned the second-half kickoff 83 yards for the score. Baumgarte's PAT was good to make the score 33-14.
There was no further scoring in the third period. On the first play of the fourth period, however, Rock (46 yards on seven carries) bolted into the endzone from 15 yards out and the deficit had been trimmed to a dozen at 33-21.
An 83-yard run by Karnes off the option on a fourth-down play, advanced the ball to the 10. Two plays later, Jackson Yates (126 yards on 24 carries) scored from three yards out to close the gap to five at 33-28 with 1:40 to play.
Baumgarte's ensuing on-side kick was recovered by the Redbirds' Kyle Hammers and the host team was able to run out the clock to win the game as Herrin had no time outs remaining.
"Some games this year... we just don't play very well in the first half," said Tigers head coach Jason Karnes. "And tonight, it caught up with us. To get down 26 points at halftime...that's a big hole to dig out of. You have to give credit to West Frankfort. That's a good ballclub. They have some great athletes. They're 6-1 for a reason."
Karnes said his team must now regroup and get ready to play at Harrisburg Friday.