Britt Powers Past Pinecrest
It was a long Friday night in Fayetteville in more ways than one for the Pinecrest football team.
Jack Britt won the battle on both sides of the ball, taking advantage of three turnovers and 140 yards in penalties to saddle the Patriots with a 34-15 season-opening loss.
A 90-minute storm delay began with 30 seconds remaining in the first quarter and the Buccaneers leading 14-3. It was followed by 30 minutes of steady rain after play resumed. Buc quarterback Mark McRae took a knee to end it all at 11:40 p.m.
A pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns by Dwayne Simpson, coupled with fumble recoveries by Frankie Painter and Sam Brower, gave coach Chris Metzger’s squad some positives to feed off going into Friday’s home opener against Overhills.
Simpson finished the game with 122 yards on 17 carries.
“We found some things and have to keep doing that,” Metzger said afterward. “Now everything is about Overhills and getting ready for them.”
The skies were relatively benign looking when the Bucs’ Keon Young intercepted a pass thrown by Simpson on the first series of the game. Starting from their own 47, 30 of the yards in the first Britt touchdown drive were covered by penalties. One was for contact with McRae after he covered his own fumble and the other was for pass interference.
McRae snuck it in from the one and the first of four conversions by Nick Lee made it 7-0.
Nick Lacy then electrified the large turnout of Patriot fans with a 66-yard kickoff return to the Buc 16. On fourth down from the 10, a 27-yard field goal by Connor Hees made it 7-3.
“I have great blockers and just try to do what I can with what they give me,” Lacy said of the return. “It just came up a little bit short.”
On a night Patriot tacklers found Buc backs Eric Carter and Marquis Foshee hard to bring down, Carter scored on a 35-yard scamper, making it 14-3. A 40-yard run by Simpson on the ensuing possession advanced the ball to the Buc 23. On fourth down a 48-yard field goal attempt by Jackson Maples fell short.
The suspension of play with 30.1 seconds remaining in the first quarter followed the kickoff. Neither team was able to move the ball in the rain, leading up to the halftime intermission.
A 79-yard return of the second-half kickoff by Quintin Murphy produced the first of three third-period scores that gave the Bucs an insurmountable 34-3 lead. The second came on a fade route to 6-foot-3 wide receiver Jalen McDaniel in the back right corner of the end zone that cornerback Lacy and safety Brower had well-covered.
“He’s a great receiver and went up and got it,” Lacy said. “We just have to do a little better job.”
The fourth-period boost for quarterback Aaron Reimer and the Patriot offense began with the Bucs sending three kickoffs in a row out of bounds in an apparent effort to keep the ball away from Lacy. Juwanza Harris returned the fourth attempt by the Buc kicker 24 yards to the Jack Britt 46.
Three option runs in a row by Reimer took it to the 31. A burst by Justin Sengkhenpong for 13, and a pass to Justin Ray for nine, moved it to the 10. Simpson took it the rest of the way on two carries. The score remained 34-9 when the conversion run was stopped.
Moments later, a fumble recovery by Painter set the Pats up at the Buc 13. On second down, Reimer picked up 11 for a first down at the one. Simpson did the rest, making it 34-15.
The Pats got the ball back again at their own six on the fumble recovery by Brower with 4:14 remaining. Runs of seven and 20 yards by Joe Anderson, and 27 by Simpson, quickly advanced the ball to the home 40 where the drive ended.
“We knew they were big and strong,” Reimer said of the Britt defense. “Our offensive line got used to their blitzing, because they were coming. Dwayne is probably one of the fastest guys on the team and Joe is almost as fast. Both run low and are physical so they’re great for us.
“The two drives at the end will help us with our confidence against Overhills.”
The Patriots rushed for 193 yards on 36 attempts compared to 266 on 40 for the Bucs. The veteran Patriot defense often allowed Foshee and Carter to escape when they appeared to be corralled.
“Tomorrow we’re going to figure it all out,” Lacy said, looking forward to the Saturday morning review of game film. “The only team that can beat us is ourselves. That’s kind of what we did a little bit tonight.”
The Patriot team captains for the game were Simpson, Painter, center Greg Mello and defensive tackle Luke Fetla. Overhill’s first game against E.E. Smith was postponed until Saturday.
Pinecrest 3 0 0 12 — 15
Jack Britt 14 0 20 0 — 34
Scoring: (J) McRae 1-run (Lee kick); (P) Hees 27-FG; (J) Carter 35-run (Lee kick); (J) Murray 79-kickoff ret. (Lee kick); (J) McDaniel 15-pass from McRae (kick failed); (J) Grant 26-run (Lee kick); (P) Simpson 1-run (run failed); (P) Simpson 1-run (run failed).
Team stats: First downs – (P) 10 (J) 19; Rushing - (P) 36-190 (J) 40-266; Passing – (P) 5-14, 26 yds., int. (J) 3-9, 29, TD; Penalties - (P) 13-140 (J) 12-85; Fumbles - (P) 2-2 (J) 3-2. Individual stat leaders – Rushing – (P) Simpson 17-122, Anderson 3-32, Reimer 11-19, Sengkhenpong 2-17 (J) Foshee 15-123, Carter 7-79, McRae 10-30; Passing – (P) Reimer 5-13, 26 yds. (J) McRae 3-9, 35 yds., TD; Receiving – (P) Ray 2-12, Simpson 2-9, Harris 1-6 (J) McDaniel 1-15.
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