The Alta Cyclone football team saw its playoff hopes dashed on a couple of costly penalties here Friday night, losing a 12-7 decision to Marcus Meridan-Cleghorn.
With the loss, the Cyclones dropped to 5-2 in district play and finished out of the playoff money. MMC won the district title finishing 6-1.
"It was a hard fought, defensive-oriented football game and a tough one to lose," said Alta coach Kevin Hammer Friday night. "We let the game get into the hands of the officials but we have no one to blame except ourselves for that."
The Cyclones held a 7-0 lead until the fourth quarter, when MMC scored twice for the win.
Both scoring drives were kept alive by Alta penalties.
The Cyclones were called for roughing the MMC punter midway through the fourth quarter and that eventually led to a two-yard scoring run by MMC running back Dan Bunt.
With about 2 minutes 7 seconds left, Alta was called for a pass interference penalty on a crucial third-down situation.
That eventually led to an 11-yard scoring run by MMC's quarterback Kirk Johnson.
According to Hammer, the Cyclones were able to drive the ball to midfield in the remaining time left, but a fumbled quarterback exchange was recovered by MMC to end the Alta's hopes.
After a scoreless first quarter, Alta scored in the second frame on a 16-yard pass from quarterback Brad Payne to slot back Nick Nesbitt.
That score came just seven seconds before halftime.
"We just had trouble moving the football against their tough defense," Hammer said. "I thought it was a well-played defensive performance by both teams."
MMC had success rushing the ball against the Cyclones, running 46 times for 213 yards, according to Hammer.
It was just the opposite for Alta, which rushed for just 93 yards on 33 attempts.
Payne hit on five of nine passes for 55 yards.
"I was pleased the way we played defensively all night," added Hammer. "It was put in a lot of difficult situations in terms of field position."
With the loss, Alta finished 5-2 in the district and 6-3 overall.
MMC is the district champion and moves on to the state playoffs along with Akron-Wesfield, which finished 5-2 with a win over West Sioux. A-K held the tiebreaker by beating Alta earlier in the season.