Patriot Jayvees Top Eagles
At least for one time, the Pinecrest junior varsity football team took the drama out of Thursday night football.
The Patriots (4-0) had to come from behind in the fourth quarter for each of their first three wins. In Thursday’s 22-0 home victory over Western Harnett, they went into the halftime intermission with a 16-0 lead.
The Patriot defense, led by linebackers Myron Madrigal and Ryan Lipomi, held the Eagles to zero yardage in the first half and did not allow a first down until the seven-minute mark of the third period.
Madrigal credited the defensive line with breaking up Eagle blocking assignments, allowing the Patriot linebackers many opportunities to finish the job.
“We were motivated because in the past games we didn’t come out like we wanted to,” Madrigal said. “We picked up the game. The first half started real well and the second half started real well.”
Forced to punt on the opening possession of the contest, the kick by the Patriots’ Jordan Denny went out of bounds at the Eagle two. On the first play, the Eagle ball carrier was tackled in the end zone by the Pats’ Trandyn Jefferson for a safety.
Charlie Smith then returned the free kick 10 yards to the Eagle 37. Chris Collins carried the ball six times on a nine-play drive that ended in his plunge from the one for the touchdown. The score remained 8-0 after the conversion attempt was wide.
The visitors started from their own 11 after the kickoff. A fourth-down punt from the end zone went straight up in the air. The punter caught it, but was tackled by Lipomi for another safety, making it 10-0.
Just before the half, the Patriots started a drive from the Eagle 27 after a 10-yard punt return by Montrel McRae with a personal foul penalty tacked on at the end. Quarterback Michael Jacobs carried the ball three times in a row from the 17 to score the touchdown that made it 16-0.
Another three and out by the defense on the first series of the third period, coupled with a 25-yard punt return by Tay Baker, set the Patriots up at the visitors’ 24. On the first play, Collins burst off tackle for a touchdown to complete the scoring.
A transfer from Gulfport, Miss., Collins expected his number to be called often after running backs Chance Castillo and Troy Roper were called up to the varsity. He finished with 70 yards on 12 carries.
“I had to get my mind right for the game,” he said afterward. “We practiced hard and came out the way we wanted to.”
The visitors got inside the Patriot five-yard line on the game’s final possession, nearly spoiling the shutout.
“They were a good team,” Madrigal said of Western Harnett. “They’ve got a lot of heart.”
Jacobs picked up 48 yards on 13 carries and Darius Stoner gained 19 in seven tries. Late in the first half, Denny beat the Eagles to a short kickoff giving the Patriots another possession.
Pinecrest will be at home this coming Thursday with New Hanover providing the opposition.
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