Patriots Heading to Richmond Tonight
With five wins overall and two in the conference, the Pinecrest football team (5-4, 2-1) heads into its final two regular-season games with not just a state playoff berth to play for, but a favorable seeding.
No. 3 ranked Richmond Senior (8-0, 3-0) provides the opposition tonight in Rockingham (7:30 p.m. kickoff). The battle for third place in the Southeastern Conference behind the Raiders and Scotland High (7-1, 3-0) probably won’t be decided until the Patriots close out the regular season the following week at home against Hoke County (7-2, 1-2).
A third-place finish would put the Patriots in a better position than a year ago when they drew Greensboro Page, the eventual 4-AA state champion in the first round. They have a tough row to hoe against a Raider squad that had its closest call of the season in last week’s 30-17 win at Lumberton.
The Raiders trailed 10-0 at one point and didn’t take the lead until the closing seconds of the third quarter. Their leading rusher, Diquon Cox, ran for 236 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns.
The Patriot defense and quarterback Dwayne Simpson rallied the Patriots from a 7-0 deficit at Purnell Swett last week. Simpson threw a touchdown pass to Levi Tew and scored twice himself, all in the final 6:38 of the 20-7 victory.
Simpson had his best passing game since becoming a full-time quarterback four weeks ago. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 169 yards, including three to Tew for 103 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriot defense nearly stopped the Rams cold in the second half. Nose tackle Luke Fetla led the Pats with 10 total tackles followed by Mike Gray with nine, and Jonah Caliri and Malik Newsome with eight apiece.
A strong start, as Lumberton had against the Raiders, will be imperative for the Patriots tonight. A helping hand from Purnell Swett in its game at Hoke would be welcomed by the Patriots.
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