Garbark

Patriot quarterback Ben Garbark breaks into the clear in Friday’s win over R.J. Reynolds.

Junior quarterback Ben Garbark threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in leading the Pinecrest varsity football team to a dominating 52-14 win Friday night at Winston-Salem Reynolds.

It was the first road game for the Patriots, who won their first two at home and are now 3-0 on the young season. 

The Patriots defense started the scoring when junior linebacker Mac McFadden scooped up a fumble and ran it in 24 yards for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game.

“Our defense provided that spark to get us going and it just snowballed from there and spread to the rest of the team,” head coach Chris Metzger said after the game. “It was a balanced attack.”

Metzger said his team still had to shake off some penalties, but thanks to a strong defense and an offense that got rolling, the Patriots were once again able to overcome it.

“It started a bit rough with some yellow flags, which you don’t like to see,” Metzger said. “But the kids responded and did a great job overall. We are happy to get this first win on the road.”

Reynolds answered the Patriots’ scoring drive on a 30-yard touchdown pass with 8:26 to go in the first quarter to tie the game.

On its next possession, Pinecrest capped a 60-yard drive with Garback reaching the end zone on a two-yard run to put the Patriots up 14-7.

The Patriots’ defense held Reynolds to a three-and-out on its next drive. Pinecrest, starting from its own 35, marched down the field, capping the drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Garbark to senior wide receiver Clint McNeill to put the Patriots up 21-7 less than two minutes into the second quarter. 

The drive was aided by a 42-yard run by Garbark, who ended up being the team’s leading rusher.

Pinecrest extended its lead to 27-7 on a 17-yard touchdown run by senior Zyheem Kelly at the seven-minute mark of the second quarter. The point-after failed.

Reynolds responded on its next drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 4:31 left in the half, cutting the Patriots’ lead to 27-14.

But Pinecrest came right back on its next drive to close out the first half with an 11-yard touchdown strike from Garbark to Kelly with 14 seconds left. Senior running back Nick Boulanger added the two-point conversion as Pinecrest extended the lead to 35-14 at the halfway mark.

Pinecrest added two more rushing touchdowns in the second half.

Senior Anthony Martin scored on a 25-yard run with 3:05 left in the third quarter. Junior running back Savion Kizer scored on a 22-yard run with just under a minute left in the third quarter.

Placekicker Jeff Yurk closed out the scoring with a 30-yard field goal with just under four minutes left in the game for the final margin of victory.

The Patriots rolled up 463 yards of total offense, compared with 224 for Reynolds, according to stats from Moore Sports Radio. The rushing attack was even more dominant, as the Patriots ran for an eye-popping 371 yards, while holding the Demons to a mere 66 yards. 

Garbark led the rushing attack with 115 yards on 15 carries. He was five of eight for 92 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He accounted for 207 total yards.

Boulanger had 13 carries for 92 yards and the two-point conversion. Martin carried the ball seven times for 61 yards and a touchdown. Kizer had seven carries for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Kelly carried the ball three times for 20 yards and a touchdown and had two  receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Pinecrest was turnover free for the first time this season, while Reynolds coughed up the ball twice.

The only concerning stat for Metzger was the disparity in penalties, with Pinecrest being flagged 12 times for 148 yards compared with only seven penalties for 50 yards for the home team.

“We’ve still got some work to do to clean things up,” Metzger said. 

Next up for the Patriots will be the “Battle in the Pines” as Pinecrest travels to Union Pines next Friday night. 

It will be the first time the cross-county rivals have faced each other since 2010 when Pinecrest won 69-14. The game was marred by a bench-clearing brawl, resulting in both teams being banned from the postseason.

Union Pines is coming off a 33-3 win at North Moore.

Metzger said the focus for Pinecrest each week is on itself, not the opponent.

“It is all about improving and getting better each week,” he said.

Contact David Sinclair at (910) 693-2462 or dsinclair@thepilot.com.

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