Memories of 2008 Propel Patriots Tonight
As he was leaving the McDonald’s Restaurant on U.S. 1 Thursday morning, former Pinecrest football player Tony Allbrooks was reminded of the major role he played in the Patriots’ 31-7 victory over Scotland County in 2008.
“It’s a great memory,” he said with the trademark smile that belied the intensity of his play on the gridiron and on the basketball court for the Patriots.
In an unmistakable example of synchronicity, Patriot coach Chris Metzger was talking about Allbrooks just 10 minutes earlier at the field house before the Patriots’ early morning practice. His recollection was that the defensive back had intercepted three passes during that first Patriot win over the Scots since 1996.
The next week, they defeated Richmond Senior 31-28 for the first time since 1992 on homecoming night in Rockingham on the way to a 7-5 record.
Scot quarterback Kwashaun Quick got a baptism under fire as a freshman in the 2008 game. Actual accounts indicate Allbrooks intercepted two passes — one of them off a throw by Quick, who is now a senior and the signal caller for the offense of the No. 3 ranked team in the state according to carolinapreps.com.
Tonight in Laurinburg, the Patriots (3-4) meet a homecoming night opponent for the third week in a row. The Scots (6-0) seem to be building to a crescendo after tough 2008 and 2009 seasons with young teams in Chip Williams’ first two years as the head coach.
They have averaged 40 points per game, including last week’s 42-26 win over Purnell Swett when Quick rushed for 138 yards on 10 carries and threw a pair of touchdown passes. The balanced attack included 138 yards rushing by Tony McRae.
“It’s the same kids they’ve had offensively and defensively for three years,” Metzger said. “It’s a team that’s very confident. They came into the season as one of the favorites and they’re living up to that.”
The Patriots are coming off a 14-10 loss to Lumberton in their Southeastern Conference opener in spite of outplaying the unbeaten Pirates by a wide margin.
Although heavy underdogs tonight, the Patriots have demonstrated the ability to move the ball against anyone, including the four teams that defeated them. In the loss to Lumberton, the defense surrendered only five first downs, 94 total yards and held the Pirates scoreless in the last 45 minutes of the game.
Three turnovers and a critical penalty at the one-yard line helped waste a big effort by a Patriot squad that refused to quit after falling behind 14-0.
“We’re really proud of their resiliency and we’ve just got to find a way,” Metzger said. “We’re just really emphasizing coming hard out of the gate and playing 48 minutes not 44.”
Quarterback Travis Scales leads Patriot rushers with 670 yards on 129 carries and 11 touchdowns. The senior has also completed 46 of 87 passes for 686 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions.
Junior Dwayne Simpson has carried the ball 46 times for 462 yards and five TDs. Junior Zach Strickland has gained 373 yards on 59 carries and scored four times. The leading receiver is senior Joe White, with 15 catches for 181 yards.
Defensively, the Patriot leaders in total tackles are D.J. Simpson, 64, Julius Steele, 49, Jonah Caliri, 38, and Frankie Painter, 21.
Just as they did in 2008 with the back-to-back wins over Scotland and Richmond, the Patriots can create a buzz with a win over the Scots and establish themselves as a team to be reckoned with in the powerful SEC.
“The theme this week is shock the world — peak performance,” Metzger said. “We’ve just got to go out and embrace playing the No. 3 team in the state and embrace the fact that we can do something that hasn’t been done. Since we’ve been here (2007), we’ve never beaten a top 10 or top-five team in the state.”
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