Extra Points: Break Bread, Then Intense 48 Minutes
Late Surge Propels Cougars Past Patriots
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You would have thought it was a dinner among members of the same club when the Pinecrest and Barron Collier players of Naples, Fla., got together in the Pinecrest cafeteria Thursday evening.
But as Patriot coach Chris Metzger predicted, bodies would be flying around for 48 minutes the next night.
The intensity of the inter-state competition in the game won 27-15 by the Floridians no doubt accounted for some of the combined 24 penalties for 201 yards, including some for extra-curricular activity.
“I was thinking this was going to be a good game,” Cougar running back Matt Gerhardstein said of his early reaction to the fray. “They (Pinecrest) played with heart and they played with passion, and I’m thankful for the way they played. I’m glad we came up here.”
All-Around Performance: One of the Patriots that got out of the gate fast was senior Dee Kirkpatrick. He returned the opening kickoff 56 yards and took another back for 39 yards in the second quarter.
“I was going to the left, but I saw the hole on the right,” he said of the first return. “It was great blocking.”
Playing as an outside linebacker this season after performing as a running back in the past, Kilpatrick’s first-half activity included a sack and a tackle for a six-yard loss by one of the Cougar ball carriers.
Ground Games Grounded: Both teams kept the vaunted ground games of their opponents pretty much in check until the decisive 34- and 24-yard touchdown runs by Gerhardstein in the final 6:30 of the game. Nineteen of the Cougars’ 25 net yards rushing in the first half came when punter Juan Tamayo took off for 19 after fielding a low snap.
On the other hand the Patriots gained only 22 yards on the ground in the second half before Travis Scales picked up 20 on the game’s final play. Two of the three interceptions of passes thrown by Scales came on deflected balls picked off by the Cougars’ Nathan Leedy.
Moving On: The Patriots’ next opponent is Western Harnett (1-3). Linebacker Frankie Painter voiced a good philosophy for putting the Collier game behind them.
“Forget the past and play in the present,” the junior said.
Road Trip: Cougar coach Mark Ivey is from Martinsville, Va., where he played on the high school’s last state championship team.
The game gave friends and relatives from his hometown a rare chance to see him in action. Tailgaters in the Pinecrest parking lot included his mother Betsy and former T-ball coach Darrell Minniear.
“It’s not a question,” Betsy Ivey said when asked to predict the outcome.
David Kerlek, father of Collier wide receiver Chase Kerlek, turned the trip from Florida into a vacation that included competing in triathlon events in Alabama and Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Cougars were scheduled to cap their four-day adventure by attending Saturday evening’s football game between South Florida and Ball State in Tampa.
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