Jayvee Pats Crush Purnell Swett
A fired up Pinecrest jayvee team overwhelmed Purnell Swett 42-6 at the John Williams Athletic Complex Thursday evening.
Zach Strickland scored a touchdown on a 54-yard interception return, and another on a nine-yard run as the Patriots performed well in all phases of the game. He also rushed for 110 yards on eight carries as the home team improved to 6-2 on the season. Purnell Swett fell to 3-4.
“We had back-to-back weeks with losses and the varsity inspired us to go hard in practice every day,” Patriot right tackle Tyler Conley said afterward. “Going against them and each other super hard and 100 percent showed itself on the field.”
The Rams moved the ball for a pair of first downs to open the game before a tackle for a loss by Strickland from his linebacker position forced a punt. Tavis Pearson, Strickland and Dwayne Simpson chewed up the real estate on a 72-yard drive that ended on a quarterback sneak by Matt Epley for a touchdown.
Late in the first period, the Pats’ Joe White blocked a punt and teammate Brandon Stonesifer covered it on the Ram 12-yard line. Pearson carried tacklers with him into the end zone on the first play and then ran for two points, giving the home team a 14-0 advantage.
Patriot special teams came up big again on the kickoff when Sam Brower brought down the Ram return man at his own 10. The visitors moved the ball into Patriot territory, but Brower broke up a fourth down pass near the Patriot end zone to end the threat.
In the final minute of the half, the two teams traded touchdowns. Strickland weaved through traffic to score on a 54-yard interception return with 35 seconds remaining. But the Rams Thomas Hunt returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to the Patriot 2. With 1.2 seconds remaining Jeremiah Sweet scored from the one, making it 21-6 at the half.
A 29-yard run by Strickland got the Patriot offense roaring on the first possession of the third period. He scored from the nine standing up to complete the 67-yard drive. A 20-yard punt return by Simpson set up the next Patriot touchdown run by quarterback Eli Black from the one. The third of four extra point conversions by Epley made it 35-6.
The final Patriot touchdown on a one-yard plunge by Justin Sengkhampong followed the fourth of five Ram turnovers in the game. The final one came on an interception by Simpson.
“Everyone played well tonight,” Epley said. “The offense fired off the ball and the defense made plays when they needed to.”
Inside linebacker Jonah Caliri was a part of a defense that had to be feeling good after nearly pitching a shut out, but for the long kickoff return by the Rams.
“After the losses, the coaches just told us to stay up and show fire and passion,” he said. “That was our theme this week.”
Scoring – (P) Matt Epley 3-run (run failed); (P)Tavis Pearson 12-run (Pearson run); (P) Zach Strickland 54-int. return (Epley kick); (S) Jeremiah Sweet 1-run (run failed); (P) Strickland 9-run (Epley kick); (P) Eli Black 1-run (Epley kick); (P) Justin Sengkhampong 1-run (Epley kick).
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