Lacy Sparks Patriots Over Eagles
If there were official records for the 80-yard run, the seven-second dash by Pinecrest’s Nick Lacy with the opening kickoff at Western Harnett Friday night might be right up there near the top.
Except that the clock didn’t start until he was almost across the finish line. The clock was eventually reset at 11:53.
In any case, the senior was barely grazed by any of the Eagles. He covered the distance in a hurry, sparking a 30-point first half on the way to a 36-7 Patriot victory.
“We were trying to set the tempo just like the coaches said,” Lacy said of his first real opportunity to run one back since teams began kicking away from him after a long return in the season opener at Jack Britt. “First of all, I have to thank Jesus Christ, the Lord of my life. He helped me on that and my blockers were just awesome. All I had to do was run the ball.”
On a another big night for the Patriot defense and special team units, Lacy accounted for the second Patriot touchdown on a 43-yard interception return and made the tackle on two fourth-down stops by the defense.
Landon Winningham and Sam Brower also picked off Eagle passes, and Michael Gray recovered a fumble. Operating at quarterback, Dwayne Simpson scored twice, increasing his touchdown total for the season to 13.
The Patriots (3-2) face perhaps their biggest challenge so far this season when they entertain 4-0 and seventh-ranked New Hanover (AP poll) on Friday (Military Night).
Midway through the first quarter, an 18-yard punt return by J’hyvion Justice and a 21-yard run on the first play from scrimmage by Justin Sengkhenpong, led to a 35-yard field goal by Jackson Maples.
The interception return by Lacy, and conversion by Conner Hees, increased the margin to 17-0 before the end of the period.
While all six of the Patriots’ first half possessions began in Eagle territory, the home team, now 1-4, never got further than its own 39 on offense. Leading 23-0, one of Lacy’s fourth-down stops led to the final points of the half.
A 24-yard pass completion from Simpson to Sengkhenpong set up a 19-yard touchdown run on a keeper by the quarterback.
Maples put the fifth of his six kickoffs in the end zone to start the second half.
That Eagle possession ended in an interception by Brower. A 29-yard run by Amani Manning put the Eagles on the scoreboard with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
With reserves seeing plenty of action, the Patriot offense struggled most of the second half.
Backup quarterback Bradley Black, who had a 38-yard run on the previous possession, led the Pats to their final points on a five-yard run by Josh McCoy.
The move of Simpson from running back to quarterback meant more carries for McCoy and Sengkhenpong.
Both delivered. The latter finished with a team-high 59 yards on 11 carries and caught a pass for 24 more.
“It’s my senior year and I’m just trying to make the most of my opportunities,” Sengkhenpong said. “Since my freshman year I’ve worked hard in the weight room. I’m not afraid of contact. You never know what’s going to happen, so play every play like it’s your last.”
A combined total of nine passes were thrown in the game by the two teams. Three of the four attempts by the Eagles ended in interceptions. More than half of their net total offense of 173 came on their final three possessions.
“I’m really excited for the defense and what they did,” Patriot coach Chris Metzger said. “That’s what we have to have. Next week New Hanover is coming to town and they’ve run through every team they’ve played. It’s going to be a great night.
The two teams combined for almost 1,000 yards when New Hanover defeated the Patriots 44-29 last season. Then pass oriented, the Wildcats rushed for over 300 yards in a 21-16 win over Scotland High in week two this year. They also own a 56-19 victory over Purnell Swett.
Pinecrest 17 13 0 6 — 36
W. Harnett 0 0 0 7 — 7
Scoring: (P) Lacy 80-kickoff return (Hees kick); (P) Maples 35 FG; (P) Lacy 43-int. return (Hees kick); (P) Simpson 7-run (kick failed); (P) Simpson 19-run (Hees kick); (W) Manning 29-run (Enriquez kick); (P) McCoy 5-run (kick failed).
Team stats: First downs – (P) 11 (W) 9; Rushing – (P) 42-212 (W) 44-173; Passing – (P) 2-5, 40 yds.; (W) 0-4, 3 int.; Penalties – (P) 12-132 (W) 5-24; Fumbles – (P) 5-2 (W) 3-1; Punts – (P) 2-26.5 (W) 4-22.8.
Individual stats: Rushing (P) Sengkhenpong 11-59, Black 3-46, McCoy 8-29, Simpson 6-35, Roper 7-10, Castillo 4-21, Roper 7-14, Reimer 3-8 (W) Manning 20-91, Smith 3-34, Gilchrist 9-22, Tymes 4-20, D. Alston 2-5, Hobbs 2-4, Gonzales 1-(-4); Receiving – (P) Sengkhenpong 1-24, Tew 1-16.
More like this story