Patriot Extra Points
The points that provided the margin of victory in Pinecrest's 22-20 victory over Purnell Swett on Friday came on a school record 51-yard field goal by Dillon Maples. The junior was kicking against a wind that earlier knocked down his two punts and going the opposite way aided three kickoffs that went into the end zone.
One of those amazed by the soaring kick that cleared the uprights with plenty to spare was a sideline official. "Against the wind and it could easily have been good from 60 yards," the gentleman said, turning to some people behind him.
With the Patriots protecting a 19-12 lead at the time, Maples was sure he would be called on to punt. He had missed a 47-yard attempt with the wind in his favor in the first half.
"It was like the dream scenario, a perfect snap and no rush," he said. "Everything was perfect."
It is probably not too strong to call it a big surprise that four different players for run-oriented Purnell Swett combined to complete 16 passes on 28 attempts for 211 yards, compared to just four completions for 36 yards on 11 attempts for the usually more balanced Patriots.
Pinecrest made up for it with a big play running attack that produced 292 yards on just 29 carries, compared to 176 on 50 attempts by the Rams.
James Baldwin gained 30 on an end-around on the first Patriot play from scrimmage of the game. Raphael Alston raced 66 yards for the first Patriot TD and finished with 93 yards on seven carries. Brett Toomer had a 59-yard scoring run and picked up 41 yards on another carry on the way to gaining 107 yards overall on six rushes.
Senior offensive lineman Fabian Wilkerson gave special recognition for the success of the running attack to Ryan Mullins, who replaced the injured Tucker Lee (knee) at center for the game.
"It was a great help to Chris Zinky, T.J. Sacco and Phillip Hause, who plays next to me, the way he stepped up to play center," Wilkerson said. "Basically, at halftime we figured out our mistakes and their weaknesses and went right at it."
Two weeks ago, Purnell Swett escaped with a 38-37 win at Scotland County when the Scots decided to run one more play from scrimmage rather than attempt a short field goal for the win. The Scot quarterback was sacked and time ran out.
A Ram team that had attempted two-point conversions after all three of its touchdowns found itself in a similar situation Friday night. Instead of attempting an extra point-length field goal from about the 10-yard line for the win, they were stuffed on a run from the 3-yard line and time expired with the Ram quarterback scrambling to spike the ball.
Purnell Swett coach Mark Heil appealed to the officials to allow one more play. Patriot coach Chris Metzger was involved in the conversation during the tension-packed five minutes it took to validate the original conclusion of the officials that the game was over.
"The ball was not set and there was a debate about it," Metzger said.
In the locker room afterward, the one-game-at-a-time Patriots were finally allowed to bring up the "R" word for Richmond Senior, next Friday's opponent at home. The Raiders will be trying to avenge last year's 31-28 homecoming loss to the Patriots against a team with plenty of motivation of its own.
"We're right where we want to be, right where we should be," Metzger told his players.
Including Richmond's 24-7 win over Lumberton and Hoke County's 42-21 victory over Scotland County, the Southeastern Conference standings now look like this: Richmond 3-0 (8-1), Pinecrest 2-1 (8-1), Lumberton 2-1 (6-3), Purnell Swett 1-2 (7-2), Hoke 1-2 (2-7) and Scotland 0-3 and (2-7).
In Thursday games, the Pinecrest jayvee team (6-2) defeated Purnell Swett 27-12 and the Patriot freshmen (5-3) fell 30-6 to undefeated Scotland.
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