Patriots Ramble Pasts Jags
Dwayne Simpson scored three touchdowns and the defense pitched a shutout in leading Pinecrest to a 21-7 victory in Friday evening’s home football opener against Overhills.
Sophomore quarterback Bradley Black directed the Patriot offense to two early touchdowns in his first varsity start. The second came on a 65-yard scoring pass to Simpson.
The defense made it stand up against a potentially potent Jaguar offense. Sam Brower and Nick Lacy each intercepted a pass, while Lacy and Michael Gray were credited with fumble recoveries.
Afterward Brower was feeling good about a bounce-back performance from last week’s 34-15 loss at Jack Britt. Overhills was held to a total offense of 192 yards, including just 88 on the ground.
“We gave up a lot of points at Jack Britt so we came out with fire this week and tried not to let them score,” the senior said. “They scored, but it wasn’t on the defense. It will give us a lot confidence going into next week against Cox Mill.”
Simpson, who touched the ball 23 times, accounting for 233 all-purpose yards, put Black in a good position to begin his varsity career by returning the opening kickoff 27 yards to the Jag 47.
A week before, Black quarterbacked the Patriot junior varsity team in its five-overtime win over Britt.
“When I was nervous was sitting in the locker room getting ready,” he said. “Once we got out on the field and we saw the other team coming out, it was game time.”
On the first two plays from scrimmage, Black completed passes to wide receiver Justin Ray for nine yards and tight end Kahner George for 22. Simpson completed the six-play drive with a plunge from the one. Connor Hees kicked the first of his three extra points, making it 7-0.
A pass interception by the Jags Elihah Millender stopped the Pats the second time they had the ball. But another stop by the defense, and a 32-yard punt return by Lacy, set the offense up in good field position again.
Consecutive penalties set them back to their own 35 before Simpson grabbed a short toss from Black at the line of scrimmage and took it the distance.
“It’s the same play action pass we’ve been using, but we just added a flat route to it,” Black said. “Nobody was out there and when the dude came crashing in I dumped it to Dwayne and he took off with it.”
Meanwhile the Patriot defense was making it a long night for quarterback Danny Karrs and Donnie Alexander, the Jag version of Dwayne Simpson. Alexander caught three touchdown passes and amassed almost 300 all-purpose yards in a loss to E.E. Smith last week.
“We knew they were going to try to get the ball in his hands,” Brower said. “We had a defense designed so wherever he was, we leaned to his side. We knew their other guys could make plays so we just had to recover from helping out on him.”
Alexander’s longest run from scrimmage in the game was eight yards and he caught just one pass for seven. With three of the four kickoffs by Jackson Maples going into the end zone, his return opportunities were also limited.
The visitors’ first four possessions ended in punts. Brower’s interception at the Patriot one-yard line, and the recovery of an Alexander fumble of a punt by Lacy, completed a frustrating first half for their offense.
The first time the Patriots had the ball in the third period, Black rolled right looking for a pitchman that never arrived. He was hit and lost the ball. The Jags’ Adonis Hassel returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. The conversion made it 14-7.
The response by the Patriot offense was immediate. Starting from its own 47, Simpson went off tackle, cut across the field and went the distance again. But a holding call brought the ball back to the 24.
Simpson caught a 13-yard pass and ran two more times to get the ball in the end zone, restoring the two touchdown advantage.
The senior was visibly exhausted as he came off the field. “I took the responsibility to lead the team,” he said later. “It’s time for me to show it.”
Turnovers bit the Jaguars on their next two possessions. Running back Lawrence Bullock lost the ball near midfield after hits from safeties Jackson Maples and Brower. Linebacker Mike Gray scooped it up and carried it 40 yards to inside the 10.
“I had some pretty good blocks,” he said.” It feels good to know we practice that stuff six days a week and it finally paid off.”
That opportunity ended in a missed 46-yard field goal attempt by Maples after Black was sacked twice for big losses. A diving, sliding interception by Lacy early in the fourth period stopped the visitors again.
A Patriot defense that allowed too many yards after contact against Jack Britt never allowed the Jaguar offense to reach the red zone.
“We worked all week on wrapping up, dropping our feet and textbook tackling,” defensive tackle Josh McMillan said. “We worked hard and the scoreboard shows it.”
Black left the game in the fourth quarter with an injured left hand, but said he didn’t think it was serious.The Patriots defeated Cox Mill 40-8 at home last season. The squad from Concord has outscored its first two opponents by a total of 91-0.
“The defense did a great job and a young offense has to keep taking the next step,” is the way Patriot coach Chris Metzger summed up the win against Overhills (0-2). “Cox Mill is 2-0 and they want revenge. We have to be ready to roll.”
Overhills 0 0 7 0 — 7
Pinecrest 14 0 7 0 — 21
Scoring: (P) Simpson 1-run (Hees kick); (P) Simpson 65-pass from Black (Hees kick); (O) Hassel 39-fumble return (Ridley kick); (P) Simpson 3-run (Hees kick).
Team stats: First downs – (P) 9 (O) 10; Rushing yds. – (P) 34-122 (O) 28-88; Passing yds. – (P) 8-14, 133 yds., int. (O) 12-24, 104 yds., 2 int.; Penalties – (P) 6-50 (O) 4-20; Fumbles – (P) 3-2 (O) 1-1; Individual stats: Rushing – (P) Simpson 17-83, Black 7-(-5), Anderson 3-22, Reimer 4-12, McCoy 2-3, Sengkhenpong 1-7 (O) Bullock 10-54, Alexander 12-30, Karrs 3-0, Ridley 2-4,Stevens 1-0; Passing – (P) Black 8-14, 133 yds., int., Simpson 0-1, Reimer 0-1 (O) Karrs 12-24, 104 yds., 2 int.; Receptions – (P) Simpson 4-86, Ray 3-25, George 1-22 (O) Rogers 5-67, Ridley 2-14 Bullock 2-15, Alexander 1-7, Stevens 2-1.
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