Patriot Jayvee Roar Back to Beat Byrd
Douglas Byrd led Pinecrest 6-0 with 7:40 left in Thursday's junior varsity football game. Then the Eagles gambled and lost.
In a fourth-and-14 situation from its own 17-yard line, Lorenzo Pooler took off from punt formation and was tackled for a four-yard loss by the Patriots' Jykeal McCrimmon. On the next play, Patriot quarterback Kyle Ocheltree faked a handoff and went wide for 13 yards and a touchdown. Damion Pride ran for the two points, giving the Patriotsan 8-6 lead.
The home team added a safety in the final minute when Jesse Korenoski and David Smith combined to tackle an Eagle running back in the end zone. The 10-6 victory moves the Patriots to 1-0 in the Mid-Southeastern Conference and 4-0 overall.
"It was just like coach (Chris Metzger) always says," Korenoski said afterward. "Rip off the rear view mirror and change things."
The dramatic turn in the game was made possible by an opportunistic Patriot defense that bent, but didn't break -- except for a 47-yard touchdown scamper by Pooler just before halftime. A first-quarter Eagle threat was ended by a Hunter Ocheltree fumble recovery at the Patriot 25.
The Eagles were knocking on the door again in the third period when Patriot linebacker Kevin Bean picked up a fumble on his own 20 and returned it 38 yards to the Eagle 42.
"Scoop and score is the term we use," Bean said about his bid for a touchdown.
An errant pitch cost the Patriots 12 yards on the first play. But moments later, a 39-yard run by Raphael Alston, and an eight-yard pickup by Pride, made it first-and-goal at the Eagle seven. Four plays gained nothing and the ball went back to the visitors on downs.
Deep in their own territory, the Eagles daringly converted a fourth and three from their own 15 on the set of downs before the attempted fake punt that failed. Now it was time for the Patriot offense to play the opportunist.
"It was a keeper or a give," Kyle Ocheltree said of the scoring play that ensued. "I just kept the ball and the receiver made a great block for me."
Joey Tapia recovered another Eagle fumble in Patriot territory on the next series. The Patriots were unable to move the ball and punted. Long snapper Brett Heimrich made the tackle after the Ryan Mullins boot, pinning the visitors back on their own 17 with under a minute left in the game. The icing on the cake, the safety, came two plays later.
Douglas Byrd outgained the Patriots 242 yards to 103 and had an 11-to-five edge in first downs.
"It's a week-to-week thing," Pinecrest coach Ryan Riggan said. "It's the offense one week and then its the defense, picking the other up. It was good that it worked out that way tonight."
On a blustery and wet night not conducive to offensive football, the late Patriot surge made for a happy Patriot locker room.
"Our coach told us it was heart over mind and hard work over talent," Kyle Ocheltree said.
Next Thursday, Pinecrest travels to Scotland County.
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