Patriot Freshmen Stun Fairmont With Second-Half Rally
A 53-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Erik McKaskill provided the deciding points in the Pinecrest freshmen football team’s stunning 27-26 comeback victory over the Fairmont junior varsity.
Playing a jayvee team for the second week in a row, the Patriot frosh improved to 2-0 with Wednesday afternoon’s success that was a part of a doubleheader at the John Williams Athletic Complex. The Patriot jayvee team met Overhills in an evening contest.
The bigger Fairmont squad seemed to be in complete control when it scored a touchdown with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter to take a 26-7 lead. The Patriot offense had been stymied since the first quarter when quarterback Bradley Black turned a broken play into a 43-yard scamper and a first down at the visitor’s 10-yard line. Three plays later, Black snuck it in from the one and Joe Lewis kicked the extra point for a 7-6 Patriot lead.
The lead was short-lived as the Golden Tornados scored on their next two possessions to take a 20-7 advantage into the intermission. After a three-and-out by the Patriot offense to begin the second half, the visitors scored again to take what seemed to be an insurmountable 19-point lead.
“We went in at halftime and a made a couple of changes,” Patriot coach Ronshau Cole said. “You see what happens as long as you fight to the end.”
One of the changes was to encourage the running backs to cut inside after watching them get strung out wide in the first half. A 28-yard return of the ensuing kickoff by Josh Bowens set the Pats up at the Fairmont 42. With Micheal Jacobs at quarterback, Jaylen Taylor made a sharp cut inside on a 12-yard pick-up. Chance Castillo made a similar move for a 20-yard gain to the visitor’s 12. Two plays later, Taylor scored standing up on a six-yard run, making it 26-13 with 54 seconds remaining in the third period.
Needing a stop, Thomas Lehto and Lee Ho combined to stick the Tornado ball carrier with a two-yard loss on the first play after the kickoff. On the next snap, Ryan Brooks picked off a pass and returned it 22 yards to the Fairmont 22-yard line. A moment later, Taylor went inside this time and then veered wide on a 20-yard scoring play. Holder Troy Roper picked up an errant snap on the conversion attempt and ran for the two points that made it 26-21 with 7:59 left in the game.
The Fairmont offense appeared to be on the move when McKaskill picked up the loose ball near midfield and took it down the right side of the field to pay dirt and a 27-26 lead with 4:25 remaining.
“I was so excited when I saw the ball on the ground. I picked it up and started running,” McKaskill said. “It felt good to get a touchdown for once.”
The Tornadoes started from their own 44 after the kickoff with plenty of time left on the clock. Slowed down by three illegal procedure penalties, they still managed to get into Patriot territory. Facing a fourth and two at the Patriot 32, a host of Patriot tacklers that included Ben Remmington, Saul Quintero, Ryan Lipomi and Joe Lewis, stood up the ball carrier for no gain.
Quarterback Jacobs then took a knee three times to run out the clock.
“It was a slant-strong,” Remmington, a weakside middle linebacker, said of the defensive call. “You read and do your job.”
This week’s opponent was originally scheduled to be Red Springs. The freshmen are idle until Thursday, Sept. 8, when they travel to Richmond Senior.
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