Patriots Take On Undefeated Pirates
The last time the Pinecrest football team traveled to Lumberton, it trailed 10-0 before it even had a chance to run an offensive play.
Only head football coach Chris Metzger and a handful of players have direct knowledge of that nightmarish experience that ended up in a 45-14 loss. The Patriots fell behind 16-0 in last year’s 30-20 loss at home. They were 6-0 going into both contests.
But along with some other factors, those experiences provide the Patriots (3-3) with plenty of incentive to be ready for the Pirates (5-0) right from the 7:30 p.m. kickoff in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
“This would be a big victory,” Metzger said on Wednesday. “We haven’t beaten them and they’re an undefeated team. Their home record is pretty incredible. If we secure the ball and don’t give up any big plays, we have a chance.”
On paper, the two teams can be expected to try to enforce their will on the other with powerful ground attacks.
But Patriot quarterback Travis Scales had his best passing night of the season, throwing for 183 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 45-29 loss to New Hanover.
Like going into the 2009 game at Lumberton, the Pirates have averaged less than 10 passes per game, but coach Mike Brill has hinted to Metzger that he should be prepared for anything.
“Coach Brill is a real card,” the Patriot coach said. “He claims they’re saving their passing for the conference. He told me to get ready for the pass.
“They don’t pass much because their running game is so effective. Remember, two years ago they were five-for-five passing.”
Regardless of the offensive style there is a stingy Pirate defense to deal with that scratched out an 8-2 victory over South View in week three and a 9-8 win over Seventy-First in week four. For the second week in a row, the Patriots face a team coming off a bye week. Is that a disadvantage for the Patriots?
“We don’t look at it that way,” Metzger said. “We’re going to make it their disadvantage because they haven’t played a game. We’re going to make it our advantage because we’re game tested.”
Metzger described his team as relatively healthy for the start of the conference campaign that will go a long way toward determining whether the Patriots qualify for the state playoffs.
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