Patriots Upset Pirates
The Pinecrest defense forced four turnovers, and the offense capitalized on all but one of its short field opportunities to upset visiting Lumberton 24-0 Friday night.
The Patriots (4-3) defeated the Pirates (4-2) for the first time since 1993, making it a very happy homecoming night at the John W. Williams Athletic Complex. More importantly, it got them off to a 1-0 start in the Southeastern Conference.
Three of the Pirate turnovers helped the Patriots take a 16-0 halftime lead. Quarterback Dwayne Simpson scored twice in the game to increase his touchdown total for the season to 17.
Next is a home date on Friday against Scotland High (5-1), a 42-0 winner over Purnell Swett in its league opener.
“It was a great crowd on a great night against a Lumberton squad that has kind of been our Achilles heel since we got here,” Patriot coach Chris Metzger said afterward. “We won the turnover battle and it was a great team effort. We’re going to enjoy this in the morning and then obviously have the opportunity to play the defending state champions (Scotland).”
The Patriots established a field position advantage that carried through much of the game on the opening kickoff. A line drive boot by Jackson Maples skipped past the Pirate return man who had to cover it at his own one-yard line.
Following a Pirate punt, a 16-yard run by Simpson gave the Pats a first down at the 15. Three plays later, Justin Sengkhenpong scored standing up after a 15-yard burst up the middle. The conversion by Conner Hees made it 7-0.
The best scoring opportunity of the night for the visitors, and their only time in the Patriot red zone, came early in the second period. Donovan Floyd set it up with a 37-yard run.
The Pirates had first and goal at the nine, but were put off schedule when Maples tackled Floyd for a three-yard loss. A fourth-down pass fell incomplete and the Patriots took over at the six.
The next time the Pirates had the ball, Patriot nose tackle Zarrick Boyd recovered a fumble and rambled eight yards with it to the Lumberton 46. A 35-yard run by Joe Anderson gave the Patriots a first down at the 13. They went on to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Maples, making it 10-0.
The Pirates made one more costly mistake before halftime. Cornerback Jhyvion Justice picked off a pass that glanced off the hand of a receiver and returned it 41 yards to the two. Simpson scored on the first play. Coupled with the blocked extra point it was now 16-0.
It was Justice’s second, and the team’s 10th interception of the season.
“We just had to get after it, no limits, no mercy,” the junior said of the playmaking first half by the defense. “We work hard in practice so let’s get paid on Friday. What else can you say?”
Most of the second half was a punting duel with the Patriots’ Frankie Painter coming out on top by a wide margin. A fair catch on one of 42 yards gave the Pirates a start at their own 24 with nine minutes remaining in the game.
Tackles for losses by Luke Fetla and Colton Daymude helped force another Pirate punt. Maples picked up the bouncing ball and returned it 18 yards down the left sideline to the 13.
Maples was roughed on a field-goal attempt that was wide, giving the Pats a first down at the two. Simpson scored standing up, and Anderson ran for the two points, completing the scoring.
The Pirates got to the home 22-yard line in a bid to spoil the shutout before Daymude recovered another fumble.
The junior linebacker knew coming in the two run-oriented teams would battle it out in the trenches.
“Our main focus of the week was to stop the run and then they’ll pass,” he said. “They had a couple of big plays, but we executed perfectly tonight.
“This is my first year playing varsity and it’s just a pleasure to be out here. I thought it was going to be close. I’m speechless. It’s a good feeling.”
The only Patriot turnover was on a pass thrown by Simpson that was intercepted in the final five seconds of the first half. The home team was out-gained 190 to 113 on the ground, but it was a fumble-free performance by the offense.
“I’m proud of the whole team today,” the Patriot quarterback said.
Painter averaged 41 yards on four punts. He also shared a pair of sacks with Boyd and Josh McMillan. The shutout was the first by the Patriots against a conference opponent since a 7-0 win over Hoke County in 2008.
In the other SEC opener, undefeated Richmond Senior (6-0) handed Hoke (6-1) its first loss, 49-14. The Patriot junior varsity team (5-1) defeated Lumberton 18-14 on Thursday.
The homecoming court was made up of Queen Zoe Harrison, and princesses Olivia Brock (freshman), Annabelle Hale (sophomore), Lynsi Beers (junior) and Kaitlyn Harris (senior).
Lumberton 0 0 0 0 — 0
Pinecrest 7 9 0 8 — 24
Scoring: (P) Justin Sengkhenpong 15-run (Conner Hees kick); (P) Jackson Maples 27-yd. field goal; (P) Dwayne Simpson 2-run (kick blocked); (P) Simpson 2-run (Joe Anderson run)
Team stats: First downs – (P) 7 (L) 15; Rushing – (P) 33-113 (L) 43-190; Passing – (P) 2-6, 15 yds., int. (L) 6-11, 60 yds., int.; Penalties – (P) 5-60 (L) 3-17; Fumbles – (P) 0-0 (L) 4-3; Punts – (P) 4-41.0 (L) 4-28.0.
Individual stats: Rushing – (P) Simpson 16-43, Sengkhenpong 9-32, Anderson 4-30, Roper 2-7, McCoy 2-1 (L) Floyd 8-69, J. Sheridan 16-62, Robinson 6-31, Dickerson 1-21, Strother 3-14, Deese 2 (-7), D. Sheridan 5-1, McNair 1-1, Smith 1- (-1); Passing – (P) Simpson 2-6, 15 yds. int. (L) Deese 5-9, 36 yds., int., Strother 1-2, 24 yds.; Receiving: (P) George 1-10, Sengkhenpong 1-5 (L) Floyd 2-26, J. Sheridan 2-8, Smith 1-24, Strother 1-2.
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