Patriot Jayvees Win Thriller Over 'Cats
The Pinecrest junior varsity football team outlasted visiting New Hanover 30-24 Thursday evening in a game featuring spectacular scoring plays and a high intensity effort by both squads.
A wild first quarter that ended with the Patriots leading 21-12 included touchdown runs of 63 and 76 yards by the Pats’ Josh McCoy, and an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by the Wildcats’ Karon Reid.
Trailing 24-21 going into the fourth quarter, the Patriots (3-2) scored nine unanswered points. A 21-yard field goal by Connor Hees tied it up. The winning points came on a six-yard touchdown run by quarterback Tristan Helms with 4:25 remaining in the game.
Pinecrest JV Football vs New Hanover
The Pinecrest Patriots prevailed 30-24 over visiting New Hanover in an exciting junior varsity pigskin contest Thursday at the John Williams Athletic Complex. With the victory the Pats improved to 3-2 on the season. Photos by Donna Ford.
It wasn’t over until Patriot defensive lineman Malik Newsome chased down scrambling Wildcat quarterback Ward Coleman near midfield on the final play of the game.
“We didn’t want to lose another game like we did against Overhills,” Helms said, recalling the painful 12-0 loss in week two that left the team at 0-2. “We wanted to come out focused and go with an intensity that would help us win the game. Our defense stepped up great when we didn’t score and got us the ball back.”
The second of the two long runs by McCoy, combined with two extra-point kicks by Hees, gave the Patriots a 14-12 lead. On both runs, McCoy hit the hole and quickly found himself in a foot race to pay dirt.
“It was amazing the way it happened like that,” he said. “Our linemen blocked it very well and it was just a matter of doing what we were taught at practice.”
A fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff by Newsome led to a 38-yard pass completion from Helms to Ryan Smith for a first and goal at the Wildcat one-yard line. Helms took it the final yard and the conversion by Hees made it 21-12 as the first quarter wound down.
Following the first of two consecutive punts by Helms that covered 50 yards, the Wildcats drove from their own 20 to a first and goal at the Patriot three. After two stops by the Patriot defense, a high snap was picked up by Pinecrest’s Pat Guarantee and carried to the 15. But the Cats got the ball back one more time before the intermission and scored to close the gap to 21-18.
Midway through the third period, a 54-yard aerial connection between the Cats’ Coleman and Reid set up the touchdown that put the visitors in front 24-21.
In a drive that carried into the fourth quarter, Helms completed passes to Hees, for 17 yards, and Smith for 12, leading to the tying field goal by Hees.
A third-down pass break-up by the Pats’ Juwanza Harris forced a punt the next time the visitors had the ball. Jyvion Justice returned it 10 yards to the Patriot 45.
On third and 10, Helms threw a pass to Levy Tew, who used all of his 6-foot-3 frame to haul it in before dragging a defender another five yards for a first down at the Cat 33.
“I didn’t even feel like he was back there,” Tew said of the player trying to bring him down. “I was going for the green.”
Helms picked up eight, seven and six yards on three of the next four plays, with the final carry providing the deciding points. The visitors got the ball back two more times, but never seriously threatened.
The Patriots went into the game less six defensive starters because of injuries and varsity call-ups. One of those making a switch from offense to defense, Justice had several pass breakups in his first start as a cornerback. He was asked how he felt going up against a passing oriented New Hanover team.
“It was a great experience,” he said . “It was just all or nothing. I didn’t think about it. It was make this play — make that play — for my team. Hard work and heart is what it took to win the game.”
Patriot coach Ben Hammer sees the performance as a building block for the team as it heads into the conference portion of the schedule. The Patriots are scheduled to entertain Lumberton next Thursday.
“People were flying around and I think we only turned the ball over once,” he said. “That’s the key to winning games.”
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