Extra Points: Patriot Defense Goes on the Offense
When Chris Metzger moved from Florida in early 2007 to take over a Pinecrest football program that had won only nine games in the previous eight years, his theme was "Rip off the rear view mirror."
Now with eight wins on the books in a season and a half, the contrast sometimes makes it hard for players not to look back and enjoy how far things have come.
Such was the case for defensive lineman Manny Sheppard after Friday's 31-7 home victory over Scotland on Youth Night at Pinecrest.
"When I was at Southern Middle School, we used to come to these games," the junior said. "It was like. 'Let's hope they keep it close, let's hope they score.' But when I came to this game tonight, it was let's make sure they don't score. It was like a different mentality."
Metzger estimated the Scotland offensive line outweighed the Patriot defensive linemen by 30 or 40 pounds at each position. But on a dozen offensive possessions, the Scots were able to muster more than one first down just two times.
"The D-line line may not be the biggest, but they're the fastest I've ever seen," Patriot inside linebacker Zavione Thompson said. "Everyone was flying to the ball, doing their job and wrapping up. Speed kills, definitely."
Passing the Praise
Other Patriot players were also deflecting credit from themselves to teammates.
Tony Allbrooks, who intercepted four passes in one game last season, had two more picks against the Scots. He also accounted for almost 80 return yards, including the two interceptions, and punt and kickoff runbacks.
"I was just in the right spot," he said. "I give credit to the D-line and the linebackers for putting pressure on the quarterback and getting him out of the pocket. The whole defense is one tough unit."
Tight end Spencer Bishop caught two touchdown passes down the middle on a big night for wide receivers Jarrin Wooten and James Baldwin.
"Jarrin and J.B. are doing such a good job on the outside," he said. "The credit goes to them because they've opened up the middle."
The snap by Bishop and the hold by Josh Scales were perfect on the 42-yard field goal by sophomore Dillon Maples that cleared the uprights with more than 10 yards to spare. The third-quarter kick gave the Patriots a comfortable cushion at 24-7.
The adrenaline was still pumping when Maples put the ensuing kickoff in the end zone for a touchback. He is also the Patriot punter.
"Normally they (Scots) weren't sending everybody (on kicks) so I just calmed down and just hit it," Maples said. "It went through the uprights and I was out there parading."
Competition Is Good
After last week's 28-21 loss at Douglas Byrd, Metzger indicated there would be competition at positions in practice during the week.
Starting at quarterback against the Scots was Josh Scales in place of Ben Williams who took all of the snaps in the first five games. Scales went on to complete 10 of 17 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. The senior also ran for another.
"We had an open competition between those two guys," Metzger said after the game. "They both battled and Josh edged him out. He knows he's got someone breathing down his neck.
"Both guys have done a great job. We're blessed to have competition at a lot of positions."
Band Competing, Too
The 87-strong Patriot band shined during a halftime that also included a performance by the Scotland band. In his second year as director, James Muccio is entering the Patriots in competitions for the first time in many years.
Last year they finished second and received a superior rating in an event held at Douglas Byrd. They competed at Clinton High School on Saturday.
"We're trying to build something special here," Muccio says. "This is a great group of kids that are working hard. Hopefully, we'll see what hard work has brought us."
The senior drum major is Sarah Scarboro. The junior drum major is Kayla Brown.
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