Runaway Pats: Pinecrest Pulverizes Scotland 31-13
Fueled by its defense and special teams, Pinecrest scorched Scotland County for 21 points during a five minute span of the second quarter in Laurinburg Friday night.
The Patriots overcame an early 7-0 deficit and four turnovers to defeat the Scots 31-13, evening their record in the Southeastern Conference at 1-1 and improving to 7-1 overall.
The win went a long way toward easing the pain from last week's 45-14 loss at Lumberton. The Patriot defense held a Scot team (2-6, 0-2) that had rushed for over 400 yards against Purnell Swett a week ago to 56 on the ground, 121 yards overall and just five first downs.
Quarterback Ben Williams had a hand in all four Patriot give-a-ways but also ran for one touchdown and connected with wide receiver James Baldwin for two others. He was the leading rusher in the game with 81 yards on 23 carries.
Damion Pride also ran for a touchdown, and Dillon Maples kicked four extra points and a 47-yard field goal.
"It sure is great the kids were able to come back from the loss," Patriot coach Chris Metzger said afterward. "They showed a lot of character. They just kept plugging away and believed. That's the mark of a good program when the kids believe in each other."
The Patriots fell behind 17-0 early in the second quarter at Lumberton last week. There was a mist of deja vu after Williams was intercepted on the first Patriot possession and the Scots' Lamar McIntyre scored on a 4-yard fumble return the second time Pinecrest had the ball.
Two minutes into the second period, the Patriots turned the ball back over to the Scots again on a Williams fumble. There was no panic, however, and the senior quarterback said he was getting plenty of encouragement on the sidelines.
"I was just trying to keep everything together and telling them we can do a lot better," he said.
The Patriot defense had already found its groove, a denial mode that would extend from midway through the first quarter until three minutes into the fourth without allowing a first down. After the fumble, Pinecrest forced a short punt giving the offense a start at the Scot 47.
A seven-play scoring drive ended with Pride taking it in from the 2-yard line. The conversion by Maples made it 7-7 with 5:23 remaining in the half.
The Patriots didn't have far to go for their next two scores. A high pooch kickoff by Maples went backwards off the fingertips of one of the Scots and was recovered by Pinecrest's Darion Hailey at the Scot 4-yard line after a mad scramble.
"All I did was grab it and land on it," Hailey said. "It was a big change in the game."
Williams cashed that opportunity in with a quarterback sneak. Then with a minute left in the half, linebacker Manny Sheppard recovered a Scot fumble at the home team's 15. Williams threw a touchdown pass to Baldwin on the first play, making it 21-7 after Maples' latest conversion.
"It was a tight post and it was amazing," Baldwin said. "It was man-to-man and he (the defensive back) had outside coverage. I cut in and Ben hit me right on the spot."
During halftime, Metzger cautioned his players that the Scots came from behind for both of their wins.
"We just told the kids they're a second-half team and to stay focused and fired up," he said. "They didn't allow the momentum to shift and I was really proud of them for that."
The Patriots' Jyhe Utley returned the second half kickoff 51 yards to the Scot 39. The two teams then traded turnovers with an interception and a 10-yard return by Maples putting the visitors back in business at the Scot 34.
Three illegal procedure penalties helped stall that drive, but Maples salvaged three points with a 47-yard field goal that would have easily been good from 52. The next time the Patriots had the ball, passes of 11 and 15 yards to tight end Darian Harris set the stage for a 13-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Baldwin.
The Scots made their only two first downs of the second half during a fourth quarter drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Kershaun Quick to Sey'yan Moody.
Pinecrest will be at home for the first time in three weeks when it entertains Purnell Swett next Friday. The Rams (7-1) were defeated 40-30 by Richmond Senior on Friday.
"We're only going to enjoy it until 6 a.m.," Metzger said of the Patriot victory. "That's when we get back to work."
Pinecrest 0 21 10 0 31
Scotland 7 0 0 6 13
Scoring (S) McIntyre 4-interception return (Covington kick); (P) Pride 2-run (Maples kick); (P) Williams 2-run (Maples kick); Baldwin 15-pass from Williams (Maples kick); (P) Maples 47-field goal; (P) Baldwin 13-pass from Williams; (S) Moody 7-pass from K. Quick (kick blocked).
Team stats: First downs - (P) 13 (S) 4; Rushing (P) 50-150 (S) 22-56; Passing (P) 6-11, 66 yds., 2 tds., int. (S) 7-17, 65 yds., td., int.; Penalties (P) 9-45 (S) 3-5; Fumbles (P) 5-3 (S) 4-2; Punting (P) 2-33.0 (S) 5-25.6.
Individual stat leaders: Rushing (P) Williams 23-81, Pride 13-54, Alston 4-10 (S) McRae 9-29, K. Quick 8-14, Murphy 5-13; Passing (P) Williams 6-11, 66 yds., 2 tds., int. (S) K. Quick 7-17, 65 yds., td., int.; Receiving (P) Baldwin 3-44, Harris 2-26.
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