Westover Stymies Patriots
The Pinecrest football team is searching for something after Friday night's 21-7 home loss to Westover.
For the second week in a row, the Patriots were beaten soundly on both sides of the ball. They allowed Westover 392 yards of total offense while gaining only 160 when they had the ball.
The loss dropped the already playoff-bound Patriots to 7-3 overall and 3-3 in the Mid-Southeastern Conference. The Wolverines kept their postseason hopes alive by improving to 5-5 and 2-4.
"We've kind of lost that mojo," Patriot coach Chris Metzger said of his squad that surprised everyone by winning seven of its first eight games. "It's our job as coaches to find it."
There were early signs that the visitors had plenty of it.
On the second Wolverine possession, running back Dwayne Williams headed to the right after receiving a handoff. He then cut toward the middle and went the rest of the 77 yards down the opposite sideline for a touchdown. The first of three conversions by Michael Atobrah made it 7-0.
The visitors threatened to score three other times in the half, but were stopped twice on downs and once on a blocked field goal attempt by Jyhe Utley.
But, the Patriot offense wasn't able to even move the chains until the 10:20 mark of the second period on a 10-yard run by Bret Toomer. On the next play, quarterback Josh Scales connected with Harrison Deen for an 11-yard pickup. After an offside penalty gave the Pats five more yards, Jamel Verbal carried the ball 10 yards to the Westover 44. Set back moments later by a holding penalty, they were eventually forced to punt.
By halftime, the visitors had rushed for 200 yards while the Patriots were in negative figures in that department.
"We felt like we had some size on them," Westover coach Milton Butts said. "We tried to stretch them out a couple times and Coach Metzger made some great adjustments. We ended up lining up and going right at them and that's what ended up working."
Midway through the third period, the Patriot offense showed signs of life. An 18-yard gain by Verbal, and a pass from Scales to James Baldwin for 20, got the Patriots into Westover territory for the second time in the contest. But set back by another holding penalty, the Patriots were forced to punt again.
The Wolverines took over and drove 73 yards in 12 plays. Christian Russell took the ball into the end zone from the six with nine minutes remaining in the game. The next time they had the ball, William Burton scored from 11 yards out, capping a 67-yard drive in seven plays. The extra point kick made it 21-0.
The Patriots got the ball for the final time at their own 35 with 5:48 remaining in the game. Damien Decatur picked up 31 yards on three carries. Then Verbal gained 11 more. After a pass interference penalty, Scales hit Baldwin on a slant for a first down at the one. Scales sneaked it in and Dillon Maples kicked the extra point.
It was the first win in October for a Westover team that suffered late losses to Richmond Senior and Hoke County.
"This is a real tough conference and you never know what's going to happen from week to week," Butts said. "We definitely needed this one to get into the playoffs."
The Wolves completed only two passes for a total of 18 yards in the game. Williams led the Wolves' rushers with 117 yards on 11 carries. Verbal led the Pats with 44 yards on seven attempts. Scales completed nine of his 13 passes for 89.
"They were very physical -- nothing fancy," Metzger said of the visitors. "It reminded me a lot of the kind of football we like to play."
Pinecrest will try to end a two-game losing streak when it completes the regular season with a home game against Seventy-First next Friday. The Falcons are 4-2 in the league and 8-2 overall after losing 22-15 to Richmond on Friday.
On Thursday, the Patriot jayvee team defeated Westover 36-0 to improve to 5-4. Rapheal Alston (2), Damion Pride and Steven Dean scored touchdowns. Adam McDuffie and Jesse Korenoski were credited with interceptions.
Westover 7 0 0 14 21
Pinecrest 0 0 0 7 7
Scoring (W) Williams 77-run (Atobrah kick); (W) Russell 6-run (Atobrah kick); (W) Burton 11-run (Atobrah kick); (P) Scales 1-run (Maples kick).
Team stats: First downs (W) 17 (P) 11; Rushing (W) 49-374 (P) 26-71; Passing (W) 2-10, 18 yds. (P) 9-13, 89 yds.; Penalties (W) 10-88 (P) 8-60; Fumbles (W) 0-0 (P) 3-0; Punts (W) 2-20.5 (P) 7-25.6.
Individual stat leaders: Rushing (W) Williams 11-117, Russell 15-99, Carver 11-79, Burton 7-45 (P) Verbal 7-44, Decatur 4-33, Toomer 5-20; Passing (W) R. Johnson 2-9, 18 yds. (P) Scales 9-13, 89 yds.; Receiving (W) Campbell 1-15 (P) Baldwin 4-46, Wooten 2-29, Deen 2-12
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