Patriots Build Momentum At Jamboree
The focus of the Pinecrest camp shifted quickly after Thursday's appearance in the Cumberland County Football Jamboree ended with a spectacular touchdown grab by Jarrin Wooten.
The Patriots scored touchdowns on three of their five offensive possessions against the host team, Pine Forest. The Trojans found the end zone twice after turning the ball over to the Pat defense on their first two possessions.
"Everything was positive tonight," Patriot coach Chris Metzger said, "but the way we want to leave it with the kids is we're not satisfied. Our focus now is on one thing, Cardinal Gibbons, 110 percent, Cardinal Gibbons, nothing else."
The Patriots open the season at home against Cardinal Gibbons a week from Friday. The Patriots defeated the Crusaders 27-7 to start last season.
With Hoke County and Cape Fear meeting on one half of the gridiron, the Patriots started out on defense against the Trojans. Under the format of a 45-minute scrimmage with a running clock, and no kicking game, each alternating possession began at the 40.
On the first scrimmage play, the Patriots' Aaron Shamberger shot into the Trojan backfield from his right outside linebacker position and recovered a fumble. The next time the home team had the ball, linebacker Jeff Hopkins tipped a Trojan pass multiple times before bringing the ball down for an interception.
The Patriot offense was also unable to muster a first down on its first two possessions, but the next time Pine Forest had the ball, Marcus Allen and Blake Conner, a highly touted pair of runners, did most of the ball carrying on a 13-play, 40-yard touchdown drive that ended on a two-yard run by Conner.
The Pats responded quickly with Durrell Lilly taking the ball for 27 yards off right tackle on the first play. Lilly had another carry for six yards before quarterback Ben Williams punched it in from the one.
On a fourth and five from the 20 on the next Trojan possession, the Patriots got the ball back when Manny Sheppard caught the Trojan ball carrier for a five-yard loss. Starting again from the 40, the Pats struck quickly with Williams going over the top to James Baldwin on a 40-yard scoring play.
The Patriots defense continued to give up yards grudgingly. Curtis Alford scored from the two for the Trojans, completing a 10-play drive, just as it was announced from the press box that five minutes remained.
Williams led a hurry-up offense, completing two short passes to Jamel Verbal, and one of 25 yards to Wooten that took the ball to the 12.
On the final play of the scrimmage, Williams lofted the ball into the right corner of the end zone where the 6-foot-5 Wooten pulled it out of the air.
"How many guys want to play more?" Metzger challenged a group of players that included many contributors in the scrimmages at East Wake on Tuesday and against Pine Forest.
After dismissing them, the Patriot coach went into the stands to do some scouting.
In addition to Hoke, conference opponents Douglas Byrd, Jack Britt, Seventy-First and Westover were among the 19 teams participating in the colorful extravaganza.
"This was a 40-minute scrimmage, and special teams are huge, so we know we have a long way to go," he said.
"We competed and we played a lot of kids."
More like this story