Bears fall in season finale

UPike running back Derius Gibson runs with the ball against Bethel in action earlier this season. The Bears fell to Thomas More 34-21 Saturday in the season finale. UPike finished with a 5-5 record.

UPike football ended its season in unfortunate fashion on Saturday, losing to Thomas More, 34-21.

Despite the loss, UPike finishes the season at 5-5 with a 4-3 record and third-place finish in the Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Division. UPike was picked to finish sixth entering the season.

Through most of the early going UPike was able to match Thomas More punch for punch offensively, although neither team got much going in the first quarter.

Thomas More got on the board first with a long 13-play drive that took over six minutes of game time, ending with a 13-yard yard touchdown pass from Justin Post.

Post had a great day for the Saints, throwing for 293 yards and three touchdowns. He needed to have a great day too, as the Bears defense limited TMU to 119 yards on the ground on 29 total rushes.

UPike answered TMU’s long drive with one of its own right after, a 12-play, 68 yard rally that resulted in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Xavier Malone to Damian Sutton on a fourth and 3.

Malone showed his potential as the possible future starter for the Bears, completing eight of 15 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Both teams scored another touchdown before the halftime break, UPike’s being Malone’s second passing touchdown, this time to Robert Sims III from 14 yards out that tied the score at 14.

The second half began much like the first with neither team able to score on its first couple possessions. Thomas More eventually retook the lead again on Post’s third touchdown pass of the day with just over a minute to go in the third quarter.

That lead expanded further after another long drive on TMU’s next possession, but Pikeville cut that lead back to a single score thanks to another defensive touchdown from the Bears. Matt Horn forced a Post fumble on a scramble, and Johran Broadnax picked it up and took it 53 yards to the house.

He was one of multiple Bears defenders to post big numbers. Taeron Brown co-led UPike in tackles in his final game, collecting nine tackles including eight solo tackles. Nyshun Bell and Joe Fluker each also had nine tackles.

UPike forced a three-and-out on the next TMU possession but wasn’t able to find the end zone, failing to convert a fourth and eight on the TMU 36-yard line.

The Saints put the dagger in the coffin on the next drive with an 11-yard touchdown run from Dillon Powell.

This season marks the second straight for UPike with at least a .500 record and the seventh straight with a winning record in conference play.

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