Pats Open Playoffs Tonight in Hoke
Tonight two conference rivals that know each other intimately meet for the second week in a row. Pinecrest (5-6) travels to Hoke County (9-2) for a first-round 4-A state playoff football game (7:30 p.m. kickoff).
The challenge for coach Chris Metzger’s team is a tough one — turn the tables on a Buck squad that defeated the Patriots 35-7 a week ago.
Buck star Detrez Newsome did his thing, gaining 162 yards on 26 carries and scoring three touchdowns. The Buck defense held the Patriots to a net of minus-one yard rushing and 104 yards overall.
“They had a great game plan and obviously there’s probably not much of a need to change it,” Metzger said on Thursday. “I’m sure they’ll add a few wrinkles. But our kids are relishing the opportunity to have another chance, so it’s a great opportunity for them.”
Last Friday, Hoke’s Jamal Harris returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. On the Patriots’ second offensive series, quarterback Dwayne Simpson suffered what Metzger describes as a hip pointer-abdominal injury and saw little action the rest of the way.
“It’s day-to-day, so we’re going to see,” the coach said of the availability of the senior who has rushed for 1,098 yards and scored 23 touchdowns this season. “But we’ve definitely got a plan in place.
“We faced a lot of adversity last week. We learned a lot as a staff and the kids learned a lot about plans A, B and C, chopping away and playing 48 minutes. We couldn’t be more excited.”
Newsome handled the ball on 15 of the first 20 Buck snaps a week ago.
The Patriot defense played him tough, holding him to three yards or less on 15 of his 26 attempts overall.
But one of the carries was for a 71-yard touchdown run that made it 21-0 early in the third period. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior has rushed for 1,919 yards and scored 33 touchdowns overall.
Quarterback Geoffery Thompson also proved to be dangerous, gaining 53 yards on one play and also throwing a touchdown pass.
The Patriot score came late on a 10-yard pass from running back Troy Roper to tight end Eli Black.
Metzger talked about why he thinks things can be different this time.
“You don’t go 9-2 and not have a great team, so we weren’t caught off guard,” he said. “The indication is you know you didn’t play your best. It’s all about performing and doing fundamentals, and giving yourself an opportunity.
“We talk about all three phases and that was probably the first time in our tenure we didn’t win any of the phases, and that’s a key.”
The Patriot leaders in total tackles through the regular season are: linebacker Mike Gray (114), free safety Sam Brower (107), linebacker Jonah Caliri (92), linebacker Colton Daymude (82), linebacker Frankie Painter (74) and cornerback Nick Lacy (67).
Daymude (11) is the leader in tackles for losses.
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