Patriot Freshmen Defeat Scots Again
The Pinecrest freshmen exploded for 21 points in a three-minute span of playing time to come from behind and defeat Scotland High 31-6 in a home football game Thursday afternoon.
Against a Scot squad they defeated 27-2 in Laurinburg three weeks ago, the Patriots trailed 6-0, and the visitors had the ball, with about three minutes remaining in the first half. A fumble recovery by linebacker Qawi Alim got the Patriot rally started. It led to a 20-yard touchdown run by quarterback Christian Ledbetter with 43.8 seconds remaining until the intermission.
The first of four conversions by Kyle Corbett gave the Pats a 7-6 lead. They scored two more times in the first 2:43 of the third period, including a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ayinde McKnight.
The Patriots, now 5-1, travel to Richmond Senior next Thursday, hoping to avenge their only loss.
For most of the first half, the Patriot offense was ineffective except for a 42-yard run by James Campbell. Beginning with the recovery by Alim, the Patriot defense came to the rescue.
“I guess we were just getting a little too cocky from the last game,” Ledbetter said afterward.
On third and 11 from the Scot 20 after Alim’s recovery, Ledbetter was in danger of being sacked when he found an escape route and scored.
“I thought I was about to be caught,” he said. “I just ran as fast as I could and tried to score.”
Alim thought the turnover and quick score were a turning point in the game.
“I wouldn’t even take credit for what I’ve done because I couldn’t have done anything without my teammates,” he said. “Everybody on this team is a playmaker.
“Just like my friend Keegan Good (defensive back) said, ‘We need to turn it around boys.’ We took it to heart.”
A 30-yard return of the second half kickoff by Brandon Reeves, combined with a 15-yard penalty tacked on at the end of the play, gave the Patriots good field position. On second down, Ledbetter connected with Stephon Stephens on a slant across the middle. The wide receiver was caught from behind at the five-yard line, but carried the defender into the end zone to complete the 63-yard scoring play.
The Scots responded with the makings of a drive when McKnight picked off a pass in the right flat. He appeared stopped several times before tip-toeing 35 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. With the conversion by Corbett, it was suddenly 21-6 with less than three minutes expired in the third quarter.
The interception was McKnight’s fourth of the season.
“I just read the play and got great blocking,” he said. “Before this year I was always an outside linebacker. This is my first year playing strong safety and I’ve gotten a lot of help from my coaches.”
On the next series, Zaire Graham recovered a fumble by the Scot punter. A 19-yard pass completion from Ledbetter to Mishak McCrae helped set up a five yard scoring run by Crash Burns as the third period ended.
A 25-yard punt return by Good set up a 40-yard field goal by Corbett that went through the uprights with plenty to spare with just over two minutes remaining in the game, completing the scoring.
Campbell led Patriot rushers with 48 yards on five carries. Ledbetter completed four of his five pass attempts for 106 yards. McCrae caught two of them for 42 yards.
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