The Pocahontas County High School Warriors, ravaged by injuries, traveled to Hico to face the Midland Trail Patriots in their final game of the season. The Warriors showed a lot of promise early in the season with a solid run-pass combo, and a group of four seniors and 13 juniors that showed a lot of talent. However, they also had an attrition rate over the season that boggled the mind and had players and coaches alike wondering how many broken mirrors, black cats and Friday the 13ths were involved to rack up such a butcher’s bill.
The Warriors went into the final game with four starters benched with a variety of injuries, including the starting running back, a top wide receiver and left guard. By the end of the game three more were benched and the Warriors were deep into their depth chart in the loss to the Patriots.
Despite the absences, the team played well early, moved the ball, caused interceptions and blocked a punt. But the injury bug bit in the second quarter as first senior #4 Frankie Burgess, at running back, broke away on a good run up the middle, but was brought down hard and had to leave the game with concussion symptoms. Later, sophomore corner #80 Clayton Burns had to leave with a shoulder injury. The combo suddenly leaving the secondary thin and younger players in, which allowed the Patriots to capitalize. Last of the injuries was senior wide-receiver/linebacker #8 Tucker McGee, who recently returned, caught an interception but on the same play injured his collar bone forcing him to leave the game, joining Cage Burdette and Frankie Burgess on the sideline for the second half. This left #10 Ryan Robertson as the last senior standing for the Warriors.
The scoreboard was a lopsided affair as the Patriots won 42-6.
The lone Warrior touchdown came in the fourth quarter when junior d-tackle #77 Austin Morgan blocked a Patriot punt and junior d-end #30 Ryan Friel pounced on it in the end-zone; the two-point conversion was no good.
The Warriors finish 5-5 on the season. Improving on last year’s 2-8 record. With injuries healing in the off season, and the return of 12 plus juniors with a lot of experience, the future looks bright for Warrior football.
But four hard working seniors have seen their last game in maroon and gold.
Ryan Robertson, #10, “the last senior standing,” transferred back to Pocahontas County from Bath County, Virginia, early in his freshmen year. He played three years for the Warriors and was a key bit of leadership his senior year as he played h-back and wide-receiver on offense and linebacker and defensive back on defense.
Tucker McGee, #8, was another returnee to Pocahontas County, rejoining the Warriors his sophomore year after a stint at Richwood. He missed part of his senior year with a collar bone injury, but still was key in the six games he played, a clutch wide-receiving and linebacker.
Cage Burdette, #5, was a standout receiver and defensive back, but was also limited due to injury. Cage played three years, missing out on the 2020 season due to COVID concerns. The five games he played in saw long receptions and touchdowns and decisiveness on defense.
Frankie Burgess, #4, was the only full four-year senior for the Warriors. Being one of the constants in the 2021 seasons. Starting as a receiver and taking on the task of running back when junior #11 Evan Hamrick was injured and anchoring safety on defense.
These four young men played their hearts out and, even injured, showed their commitment to the team and their Warrior spirit.