Pittsburg’s Purple Dragons got an early lead on the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints Friday night but were unable to answer an ensuing onslaught by the Saints, falling behind 21-7 at halftime and eventually losing 38-21.

Pittsburg’s Purple Dragons got an early lead on the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints Friday night but were unable to answer an ensuing onslaught by the Saints, falling behind 21-7 at halftime and eventually losing 38-21.

Dragons quarterback Jordan Elliott ran 25 yards from his 11-yard line and passed to Joe Wimmer to Aquinas’ 30 before a 15-yard penalty put the ball on the 15, where fullback RaShawn Davis slammed into the line three times and scored from the 2 with 5:51 left in the first quarter. Drew Mattson hit the extra point.

Aquinas quarterback Richard Davila ran 48 yards and passed to 200-pound tailback Dagan Reed and wide receiver Shane Nachbar before Reed got six points on a seven-yard run. Jonathan Pyle’s kick tied it at 7-7 at 1:26 in the first period.

In cool weather with a strong south wind, Davila marked on a five-yard dive at 9:23 in the second period and on a one-yard scamper with 1:28 in the half. Pyle hit every extra point try and a 37-yard field goal at 1:07 of the third quarter.

Davila used the first 12 seconds of the second half to score on an 80-yard pass to Clayton Henning, but Pittsburg still had plenty of fight left.

The Dragons came back on tough running by fullback Jack Pryor, a personal foul penalty that moved the ball to the Saints’ 39 and a pass from Elliott to Kevin Harvey to the five-yard line, setting the stage for Elliott to dive in from the one and making it 28-14 when Mattson toed the porkskin through the uprights at 8:02 in the third quarter.

Before some poignant endgame drama by the Dragons, many playing their last game in a 5-4 campaign that garnered the SEK League championship, Aquinas got its final TD on a 45-yard toss from Davila to Ryan Backs at 6:16 in the third stanza. Aquinas missed the playoffs for the same reason Pittsburg did — setbacks to 5A powerhouses Gardner-Edgerton and Blue Valley-Stilwell — and ended the year 6-3.

After Pyle was wide right on a showboat 50-yard field goal shot, Matt Clark took over for Elliott on the Dragons’ 20 with time getting short.

Staying on the ground, Clark combined with Davis and Pryor to bull the ball all the way down to Aquinas’ one-yard line, calling timeout on fourth down with five seconds left in the game and season.

Pittsburg partisans cheered when Elliott returned to the field, and true to his season-long form, the 6-5, 160-pounder fell into the endzone as time ran out. Mattson was true one last time to make it 38-21.

James R. Campbell can be reached at james.campbell@morningsun.net.