Patriots End Season on High Note
Pinecrest went a long way toward burying the disappointment of a late-season slide by defeating Hoke County 28-21 in a football game featuring spectacular performances.
Three plays into Friday night’s Senior Night contest, Hoke running back Detrez Newsome broke off an 83-yard touchdown run. The deciding points came late in the fourth quarter on a 97-yard kickoff return by Raphael Alston.
Newsome finished the game with 306 yards on 45 carries and three touchdowns. Damion Pride scored twice and gained 143 yards on 23 rushes for the Patriots. The senior also became the first Patriot ball carrier since 2000 to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. The playoff-ineligible Patriots finished up with an overall record of 7-4 and a league mark of 1-4. Hoke dropped to 3-8 and 1-4.
“You’re sending these guys out with a great feeling,” Patriot coach Chris Metzger told the underclassmen in the locker room after the final game for 30 Patriot seniors. “We’re just really proud of the seniors and their efforts. It’s a great night to be a Patriot.”
Trailing 7-0 late in the first quarter, a Patriot team that turned the ball over 15 times in its previous two games fumbled the ball away at the Hoke 31. That would be the last Patriot miscue of the night.
Early in the second period, Bryan Vancleave got the home team going with a 17-yard scamper. Pride broke one for a 30-yard gain before completing the tying 69-yard drive with a plunge from the one.
Newsome carried the ball on 10 of 11 plays as the Bucks responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive to go ahead 14-7. But a 31-yard kickoff return by Alston put the Pats right back in business.
After Pride picked up 25 yards on the ninth play of the possession, the public address announcer informed the audience that he had gone over the 1,000 yard mark.
“We found out at the pre-game meal,” junior center Steve Pollard said of learning Pride needed 95 yards to reach the milestone. “We wanted to do it for him. It meant a lot to us.”
Two plays later from the Buck 10-yard line, quarterback Kyle Ocheltree made a perfect throw on a fade route to Dannie Monroe in the left corner of the end zone. The second of four conversions by Jeremy Brock retied the game at 14-14.
A towering punt by Dillon Maples on the second series of the third quarter gave Newsome and company a start from its own 7. The 5-foot-11, 180 pound dynamo had the Bucks moving again before he fumbled and Julius Steele recovered the ball at Patriot 48.
As the third period wound down, the Pats turned that opportunity into a seven point lead on a 20-yard scoring burst up the middle by Pride and the conversion by Brock.
But Newsome, who gained 173 yards against Purnell Swett, and 228 against Scotland County in his previous two starts, still had plenty left in his tank. He did all of the ball carrying on an 80-yard, 15-play, game tying drive.
“He’s the real deal, as good as we’ve seen,” Metzger said. “Everybody said it and we knew it. He’s a sophomore so look out.”
Bothered by injuries the second half of the season, Alston received the ensuing kickoff at the three. He went up the middle, and then cut outside, beating everyone to the end zone for his fourth kickoff return for a touchdown this season.
“I saw the perfect blocks, saw the kicker coming at me, and bounced outside,” the senior said. “The injuries were a minor setback, but once I got it under control, God made it work for me.”
The Bucks started from their own 25 after the kickoff with 4:23 remaining in the game.
“I was just going through the plays in my mind that I thought they were going to run,” senior inside linebacker David Smith said. “I knew the guys beside me were going to do their jobs so I decided to do mine.”
On the second play, quarterback David Walrath completed his only pass of the night for 36 yards to Jayvonie Parker. A 12-yard run by Newsome gave the Bucks a first down at the Patriot 22 with 2:50 remaining.
After Newsome was held to six yards on two carries, Walrath rolled to the right to pass on third down and was sacked for an 8-yard loss by Marino Gillis.
“The defensive line put on the pressure and the defensive backs we’re covering good to help me get there,” the senior left outside linebacker said.
On fourth down, Walrath was flushed out of the pocket by Kris Robinson, the linebacker on the other side. He made a mad dash for the first down marker 12 yards away, but was forced out of bounds two yards short by Smith.
Ocheltree took a knee three times and the Patriots had a victory they can cherish.
“You look at that last play, and David Smith laid it on the line,” Metzger said. “That’s Pinecrest football. That’s our program and that’s life.”
A number of the Patriot seniors played three varsity seasons on teams that compiled a record of 24-12. Only the suspension that arose out the fighting incident in game two against Union Pines deprived the team from three trips in a row to the state playoffs.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hoke County 7 7 0 7 21
Pinecrest 0 14 7 7 28
Scoring — (H) Newsome 83-run (Latham kick), (P) Pride 1-run (Brock kick); (H) Newsome 5-run (Latham kick); (P) Monroe 1-pass from K. Ocheltree (Brock kick); (P) Pride 20-run (Brock kick); (H) Newsome-1-run (Latham kick; (P) R. Alston 97-kickoff return (Brock kick).
Team stats — First downs – (H) 20 (P) 16; Rushing – (H) 51-321 (P) 39-231; Passing – (H) 1-5, 36 yds. (P) 2-5, 17 yds., Td.; Penalties – (H) 6-26 (P) 3-25; Fumbles – (H) 2-1 (P) 2-1; Punts – (H) 2-27.0 (P) 2-42.0.
Individual stats — Rushing – (H) Newsome 45-306, Thompson 2-8, Walrath 3-5, Nicholson 1-2 (P) Pride 23-143, Vancleave 4-59, R. Alston 4-17, K. Ocheltree 5-17; Passing – (H) Walrath 1-5, 36 yds. (P) K. Ocheltree 1-4, 10 yds., Td., Pride 1-1, 7 yds.; Receiving – (H) Parker 1-36 (P) Monroe 1-10, Moore 1-7.
Alston took the ensuing kickoff and electrified the partisan Patriot crowd with his 93-yard return to push Pinecrest ahead 28-21.
But the Bucks were not done. They drove down the field, setting up the potential tying score before the Patriots "D" rose to the occasion, placing the Patriots in the coveted conference win column.
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