Pinecrest Cruises Past W. Harnett
BY CHARLIE BERGMANN
Special to The Pilot
The defensive and special teams units were primarily responsible for the Pinecrest football team's 10-0 first half lead at Western Harnett Friday night.
Running back Damion Pride picked up most of his 173 yards on 15 carries after the intermission as the offense found its rhythm. The combined efforts added up to a 31-0 victory for the now 5-0 Patriots.
Defensive back D.J. Simpson and linebacker Kris Robinson each scored a touchdown for the Patriots. Dillon Maples contributed to a huge field position advantage for his team by putting four kickoffs in the end zone and averaging 46 yards on three punts.
The first Patriot offensive series of the night was a three and out that led to a punt by Maples. The towering kick was fumbled and recovered by the Pats' Javonte Alston at the Eagle 6-yard line. When the offense went backwards, Maples booted a 32-yard field goal.
Quarterback Travis Scales injured his right knee the next time the Patriots had the ball and did not return. With the first quarter winding down, Simpson picked up an Eagle fumble along the left sideline and returned it 23 yards for his second defensive touchdown of the season. The conversion by Maples gave the Pats a 10-0 lead.
The Patriot offense had made only one first down before Kyle Ocheltree, now in at quarterback, passed to David Alston for a 29-yard gain with just under three minutes remaining before halftime. That opportunity was wasted by a fumble, but it was a different offensive unit that took the field in the second half.
"We were a little flat at the beginning, but came on strong at the end," junior offensive lineman Mitch Monska said. "The second half is always better. We get our heads in the game and fire out hard."
The Eagles were not able to capitalize on a recovered onside kick to start the third quarter. On the first snap of the half by the Patriot offense, Ocheltree gained 23 yards. On the second, Pride burst through a big hole up the middle for 68 yards before getting dragged down at the Eagle 4-yard line.
Three plays later, Ocheltree snuck it in from the one. The next time the Patriots had the ball, a 61-yard punt by Maples gave the Eagles a start from their own 13-yard line. On second down, Robinson picked off an Eagle pass at the seven and strolled in for the touchdown that upped the Patriot lead to 24-0.
Early in the fourth period, Dee Kilpatrick got an 80-yard Patriot drive underway with a 10-yard gain. Pride had runs of 7, 20 and 28 yards before scoring the final touchdown of the game from 12 yards out. Jeremy Brock kicked the extra point.
Pride had been listed as questionable for the game after sustaining an injury at West Johnston last Friday. Running mate Raphael Alston (knee) missed the game.
Pride and offensive line coach Antwan Murchison both gave credit to Monska for helping keep the team up after a frustrating first half that produced 29 net yards rushing and four penalties for false starts.
"Mitch stays hyped up the whole time even when everyone else is down," Pride said. "Before the second half, he said, 'Pride, this is your half.' That really motivated me a lot to just give a second effort. They were really opening some big holes in the second half."
The Patriot ground game chewed up 204 yards on 20 attempts in the second half. Pride gained 145 yards on eight carries. The loss was the fifth in a row for the Eagles of the 3A Cape Fear Valley Conference.The three Patriot takeaways give them an 18-9 advantage in the turnover department this season. There was a buzz in the crowd when Maples was short and wide on a 57-yard field goal attempt.
"We were much happier in the second half," Patriot coach Chris Metzger said. "We have to minimize our mistakes. We had way too many."
The Patriots entertain St. Pauls (1-4) next Friday. After a bye week they begin Southeastern Conference play at home against Lumberton. All six league teams won their games Friday night.
Contact Charlie Bergmann at email@example.com.
Pinecrest 10 0 14 7 31
W. Harnett 0 0 0 0 0
Scoring: (P) Maples 32-field goal; (P) Simpson 23-fumble return (Maples kick); K. Ocheltree 1-run (Maples kick); (P) Robinson 7-interception return (Maples kick); (P) Pride 12-run (Brock kick)
Team stats: First downs - (P) 13 (W) 8; Rushing - (P) 33-231 (W) 34-105; Passing - (P) 6-10, 51 yds. (W) 2-8, 38 yds., int.; Penalties - (P) 11-75 (W) 4-35; Fumbles - (P) 3-1 (W) 3-2; Punts - (P) 3 - 46.6 (W) 7-32.7.
Individual stats: Rushing - (P) Pride 15-173, K. Ocheltree 8-49, Kirkpatrick 6-8, Whitten 1-6, Scales 1- (-2), Peterkin 2-(-3) (W) Chalmers 9-64, Trapp 11-22, Hooker 7-9, Overton 3-11, Burrell 1-3, McNeill 3-(-4); Receiving - (P) D. Alston 1-29, Moore 1-12, M. Smith 3-2, Pride 1-8 (W) Freeman 1-27, Duggan 1-11.
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