Reagan Shocks Patriots
Reagan ran off the final 21 points of the game to shock Pinecrest 28-20 in a football game played at the John W. Williams Athletic Complex Friday night.
The crushing blow for the Patriots came with about 40 seconds left in the game. The Raiders’ A.J. Ikwechegh blocked a potential go-ahead 43-yard field goal by Jackson Maples. Teammate Dakota Pinnix scooped the ball up and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.
“It was one of those plays that fall in your lap,” Pinnix said. “You’ve just got to take it all the way and make something out of nothing.”
Just before halftime, Maples drilled a 60-yard field goal that is the second longest in the history of high school football in North Carolina. The junior also connected from 44 yards and intercepted two passes.
Patriot running back Dwayne Simpson went over the century mark for the third time this season, rushing for 155 yards on 20 carries. Raider quarterback JaShawn Joyner offset that effort by completing 15 of 28 passes for 182 yards and rushing for another 65.
The Patriots take a 2-2 record into next week’s contest at Western Harnett while the Raiders improved to 3-1.
The Patriots were a step ahead of the visitors almost the entire evening, missing a number of opportunities to really take command.
The first points of the game were set up when Patriot cornerback Nick Lacy recovered a dropped backward pass into the flat thrown by Joyner at the Raider 35. Joe Anderson had three carries for 25 yards, including the plunge for the touchdown with 5:46 remaining in the first period.
As the quarter wound down, some confusion at the line of scrimmage and the sideline cost the Patriots dearly. Rushing to beat the 25-second clock, quarterback Aaron Reimer’s short pass was picked off at the line of scrimmage by Devin Bricker and returned 15 yards for the tying touchdown.
The Patriots started out from their own three-yard line on their final possession of the first half. On the second play, Simpson carried the ball 35 yards to his own 40.
On fourth down with 22 seconds left in the half, the crowd buzzed as Maples trotted on to the field. Reimer took the snap from Jonah Caliri and placed the ball down at the midfield stripe. With his brother Dillon, the previous school record-holder watching, Maples’ low kick split the uprights from 60 yards away, making it 10-7.
“Unbelievable,” Raider coach Josh McGee said afterward “I never saw a kick like that before. As soon as it left his foot it was fun to watch. I told our kids at halftime that’s not something you often see. “
Simpson and Justin Sengkhenpong did most of the heavy duty work as the Patriots marched to set up a 44-yard field goal by Maples on the first series of the third period. When the Raiders got the ball, the first of two interceptions by Maples gave the Pats a start at the visitors’ 19. Simpson ran it in on the first play and the conversion by Maples made it 20-7.
The final quarter and a half belonged to the Raiders. A personal foul abetted a 59-yard drive that ended in a six-yard touchdown run by Josh Brice. He also ran for two points, making it 20-15.
Early in the fourth period, Simpson broke free at the line of scrimmage and appeared to have scored on a 50-yard run. But a block in the back, away from the play, negated the score. That drive ended in the first of Ikwechegh’s two blocked field goal attempts.
With the scoreboard not working, the Raiders were turned away again on a diving interception by Maples. But they got it back on a Patriot fumble on the exchange at the line of scrimmage. A 29-yard completion from Joyner to Pinnix on a third and eight kept the drive moving.
Caleb Anthony, who caught nine passes for 112 yards in the game, took one in the flat from Joyner and turned it into a 14-yard touchdown. The conversion by Andy Neeley put the Raiders ahead with 2:11 remaining in the game.
“He made some tremendous throws,” McGee said of his quarterback. “We knew coming in we would have to throw the ball to be successful.”
The Patriots got new life when Maples was roughed on a 63-yard field goal attempt. That led up to the blocked 43-yard try that Pinnix picked up and took the distance.
“You played for 48 minutes — as long as it took,” McGee told his players afterward. “Our program took a step in the right direction tonight.”
The Patriots rushed for 242 yards on 40 attempts while holding the Raiders to 87 on 26 tries. But Patriot quarterbacks Reimer and Bradley Black completed just two of 14 passes for 23 yards.
The Patriot players and coaches were somber in the aftermath.
“We had too many mentals (mistakes),” Patriot coach Chris Metzger said. “It was a tough day, a tough loss. We have to tip our hat to Reagan.”
Reagan 7 0 8 13 — 28
Pinecrest 7 3 10 0 — 20
Scoring: (P) Anderson 1-run (Maples kick); (R) Bricker 15-interception return (Neeley kick); (P) Maples FG 60; (P) Maples FG 44; (P) Simpson 19-run (Maples kick); (R)Brice 6-run (Brice run); (R) Joyner 14-pass to Anthony (run failed); (R)Pinnix 40-yard return Blocked FG attempt (Neeley kick).
Team stats: First downs – (P) 14 (R) 15; Rushing – (P) 40-242 (R)26-87; Passing – (P) 2-14, 23 yds. int. (R)15-28, 182 yds. TD, Int.; Penalties – (P) 9-70 (R)6-60; Fumbles – (O) 5-1 (R) 1-1; Punts – (P) 4-39.2 (R) 5-28.8; Individual stats: Rushing – (P) Simpson 20-155, Anderson 7-48, Senghkenpong 4-29, Reimer 6-11, Black 3- (-1); (R)Joyner 14-65, Brice 11-18, Pinnix 1-8; Passing – (P) Reimer 2-11, 23 yds. int., Black 0-3 (R)Joyner 15-28, 182 yds. 2 int. TD; Receving – (P) Painter 1-24, Tew 1- (-1) (R) Anthony 9-112, Pinnix 2-39, Martin 1-6, Brice 1-7, Jacobs 1-18.
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