Patriot Jayvees Defeat Jack Britt in Five OTs
On Thursday’s first night of the 2012 high school football season, the Pinecrest and Jack Britt junior varsity teams put on a show to be remembered.
A 22-yard field goal drilled through the uprights by Joe Lewis in the fifth overtime period gave the Patriots a 35-32 come-from-behind victory at the John Williams Athletic Complex.
The Patriots rallied from 14 points behind in the fourth quarter to tie the game with just over two minutes remaining. Tay Baker returned a punt blocked by Bryson Thomas for a touchdown, and Chris Collins ran for two points, tying the game at 24-24.
The Patriots overcame three first half fumbles that the Buccaneers turned into three touchdowns. The defense kept the Bucs out of the end zone on nine of their last 10 possessions. That included the last four times they started from the 10-yard line in the overtimes.
One of the many Patriot contributors was linebacker Caleb Hendrix, who recovered a fumbled punt to set up the first Patriot touchdown, downed a Chance Castillo punt at the Buc two-yard line that led to a safety and was the snapper on the winning kick.
“We just had the mindset to stop them,” he said afterward. “We knew we were the best conditioned team and we knew we had the most heart. It feels amazing. It’s the best feeling in the world right now.”
The Patriots had never won a varsity or jayvee football game against the Fayetteville school since it opened in 2000. When the visitors took advantage of the turnovers to score twice in the final two minutes of the first half and take a 24-10 lead, a milestone win did not appear to be in the cards.
Quarterback Bradley Black went to the locker room feeling partly responsible for the deficit.
“I was kind of down on myself because I made some handoffs that didn’t get to the running backs,” he said. “I didn’t tell my teammates, but I promised myself that when I came out for the second half I wasn’t going to let myself be down. Even if it was my fault I was going to pick up my team.”
The Patriots began the third period with runs of 14 yards by Black and 19 by Castillo. They made it to the Buc 21 before consecutive illegal procedure penalties, and then an interception, killed the opportunity.
Still trailing 24-10 with 11:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, the quarterback engineered a 73-yard drive that kept the home team’s hopes alive.
The sophomore completed three passes, including two to Immanuel Brown, and one to Castillo, that got the ball into Buccaneer territory. Later he kept the ball for 14 yards to the one and then snuck it into the end zone on the next play.
That made it 24-16, but Black was stopped on the two-point conversion attempt. The tying score was produced by the Patriot special teams.
After an exchange of punts, the Bucs went into punt formation again from their own 19-yard line with 2:18 remaining. The kick was blocked by Thomas into the arms of Baker, who took it into the end zone untouched. Patriot fans were delirious after Collins ran for the two points, tying the game at 24-24.
The Bucs got the ball first for the alternating possessions from the 10-yard line in the overtime. They put the pressure on by scoring a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Collins, a power back, then scored on a five-yard run and converted the two points with another to tie the game at 32-32.
“Chris just moved here this summer and he ran with heart,” Black said. “Chance’s pants were torn up and his hands were swollen, but he wouldn’t quit either.”
Both teams missed field goals in the scoreless next three extra periods. Lewis agonizingly, from 31 yards away in the third overtime, when his kick fell just short. In the fourth overtime, Collins fought with everything on fourth down to make the final yard.
“I bobbled the snap,” Black said, “but Chris still got a good grip on it. You can’t push him, but I tried to hold him up. When his arms went down it was six inches away – not even a foot.”
The squad from Fayetteville got the ball first in the fifth overtime. Neither side was able to create running room at this point. On fourth and 12, Baker intercepted a pass in the end zone.
The ball was placed back on the 10. Castillo reached the four-yard line on two carries. When Collins was stopped for no gain, Lewis got the call again. Hendrix snapped the ball, Cameron Brown placed it down and the conventional-style kicker split the uprights with plenty to spare.
“There was a little bobble, but he got it back up there,” Lewis said of his holder. “I have a lot of faith in him. We practiced seven months for this game.”
Hours earlier, the Patriots led 10-8 on touchdown and two-point conversion runs by Castillo, and a tackle of the Buc quarterback by Jordan Denny for a safety. Then came the mistakes that created a big hill to climb - leading to a memorable outcome.
The Patriots rushed for 178 yards on 43 attempts, led by Black with 14-for-54 and Castillo with 14-for-53. Black completed five of 13 passes for 48 yards with one interception. Landon Winningham intercepted a pass for the Pats. Hendrix, Saul Quintero, Patrick Gaurantee, Denny, Cody Bender, Tristan Mullins and Charlie Smith were among the defensive players credited with making tackles for losses.
Baker was both happy and breathless in the aftermath of what Patriot head coach Chris Metzger called a “monumental” victory” for the players. And a courageous effort by the players on both teams.
“It was intense,” Baker said of the way it felt when the defense took the field for the fifth overtime. “I was tired, I was cramping up, but my coaches taught me how to finish and that’s what I did. It was the best feeling of my life. We shocked the world and beat Britt.”
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