Page Blanks Patriots in Playoffs
After undefeated Greensboro Page took a 7-0 lead midway through the third period of Friday night’s football game, underdog Pinecrest responded with one of its most impressive drives of the season.
Starting from its own 20, Zach Strickland gained 25 yards with a burst up the middle. On the third play, quarterback Travis Scales and wide receiver Traivon Williams hooked up for 19 more. Moments later, a 10-yard pickup by Scales gave the visiting Patriots a first and goal at the nine.
That’s when the Patriots were cruelly bitten one more time in a season filled with red-zone turnovers. A Pirate defense that sacked Scales five times in the game, penetrated to deflect his pitch out on first down. It was recovered at the 18 by Carter Stanley.
The Pirates (11-0) scored three plays later on a 75-yard run by Drew Rogers and went on to hand the Patriots (5-7) a season-ending 21-0 loss in the first-round state 4-AA playoff contest. Rogers finished with 191 yards on 26 carries.
The third-ranked Pirates advance to meet Northwest Guilford next Friday.
“We’re so proud of the kids for battling and giving it all they had against a great team,” Patriot coach Chris Metzger said. “We just didn’t make enough plays.”
The Patriots went into the game without their starting punter, placekicker or long snapper. Also missing because of injuries were two starting wide receivers and defensive lineman Doug Harrison. Late in the first period, linebacker Julius Steele left the game with a pulled hamstring.
The loss of Steele, one of the team’s leaders, was a tough one on top of all the injuries.
“He’s a key player on our team and we missed him,” fellow senior linebacker Jonah Caliri said. “But the key to good defense is being able to adjust and move on.”
After the Patriots were stopped on the opening series of the game, Frankie Painter punted for the first time in place of Steven Kennedy with a stiff wind at his back. The ball traveled 59 yards before being downed at the Pirate one.
Rogers gained 15 and 16 yards on his first two carries. But with divots and mud flying everywhere on the soggy field all night, the Patriot defense held him to 31 on his next 11 attempts in the scoreless first half. Linebacker Painter and safety Sam Brower each intercepted a pass, with Painter’s coming off a pass attempt he blocked before diving for the ball and cradling it before it hit the turf.
The home crowd was stunned, to say the least, as the teams left the field in a scoreless game for the halftime intermission.
“There was a fight out there,” Caliri said. “Both teams knew how to battle and that’s really what it’s all about. That’s what makes good football.”
N.C. State recruit, James Summers, sat out the Pirates’ first two offensive series for reportedly missing a practice. The 6-foot-3 quarterback was a difference-maker for his team on the first series of the third quarter. The last of his four carries in a row on a 61-yard drive in 10 plays was for 18 yards and a touchdown. The conversion by Ryan Jackson made it 7-0.
The quick retort by the Patriot offense was ill-fated, but moments later the defense was just one stop away from forcing the Pirates to punt from deep in their own territory against the wind.
But on third and two from the Pirate 25, Rogers thrashed himself free at the line of scrimmage and went 75 yards for the touchdown. A low snap to Painter in a punting situation on the next series led to a short field for the Pirates and another touchdown run by Summers and a 21-0 deficit for the Pats.
Harried all night, Scales was held to minus four yards on 18 carries. Strickland was very productive, gaining 60 yards on five attempts. All four of Scales completed passes went to Williams for a total of 39 yards.
The Pirates had a 352 to 141 advantage in total yards, but three Patriot turnovers plus a punt that was blocked and another one they couldn’t get off were big factors in the loss.
Metzger was anticipating an emotional locker room when the team got back to the field house at Pinecrest. It was a season of full of strong efforts against top-tier competition where a play here or there could possibly have made a difference in the outcome.
“It’s just a joy to have the opportunity to be a part of their lives,” Metzger said.
All five of the Southeastern Conference teams that played Friday night went down to defeat. Scotland High was scheduled to play on Saturday.
Pinecrest 0 0 0 0 — 0
Page 0 0 7 14 — 21
Scoring: Summers 18-run (Greene kick); Rogers 75-run (Greene kick); Summers 4-run (Greene kick)
Team stats: First downs - (PC) 9 (PG) 16; Rushing – (PC) 30-92 (PG) 50-336; Passing – (PC) 4-13, 39 yds., 2 int. (PG) 2-10, 16 yds., 2 int.; Penalties – (PC) 4-25 (PG) 4-40; Fumbles – (PC) 2-2 (PG) 0-0.
Individual stat leaders: Rushing – (PC) Strickland 5-60, Pearson 5-33, Scales 18-(-4) (PG) Rogers 26-191, Summers 11-98, Workinger 5-20; Passing – Scales 4-13, 39 yds., 2 int. (PG) Putnam 2-5, 16 yds. int., Summers 0-5, int.; Receiving – (PC) Williams 4-39 (PG) Hatfield 1-12
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