Pinecrest Academy used a long last possession drive to get a 14-7 win against Brookstone at home Friday in the first round of the Class 1A private school playoffs.
The Cougars scored their one and only touchdown with a little over 8 minutes left to tie the game, 7-7, but they didn’t get the ball back again until there was only 30 seconds remaining. The Paladins (7-4) of scored the would-be game-winning touchdown on quarterback Ryan McCarthy’s second score of the game.
“Our offense is pretty much designed to get about 3 yards a play,” McCarthy said. “So, if we can do that, then it works out for us. Everything seemed to be working, and we just kept managing to get enough yards, and then we held on to the ball for a really long time.”
McCarthy got his two touchdowns off 25 carries for 72 yards along with completing 3 of his 6 passes for 41 yards. McCarthy’s one mistake came in fourth quarter when he fumbled, which led to Brookstone’s only score, a 1-yard leap over the goal line by quarterback Josh Long.
McCarthy knows he must work on holding onto the ball for his team to succeed in the next round.
“I personally need to work on running the offense better,” McCarthy said. “I fumbled inside the 20-yard line, which gave them their score. I take responsibility for that.”
The Cougars got 17 rushing yards on six carries, along with a fumble, from quarterback Benjamin Sloan, who also completed seven of his 12 attempts for 73 yards. Running back Richard Hill ran for 40 yards on 12 totes.
Paladins’ head coach Todd Winter knows that they missed some opportunities in the game that could have helped his team to put the game away before going on their game-winning drive, and that his team did not play the entire game the way they are capable of playing.
“Not getting that second score before the half was huge,” said Winter. “That would have put us up 14, and would have made things different in the second half, but it didn’t happen that way. That fumble was crucial. I think it gave them a short-field.
“Also, the thing that I don’t like about newspapers, with all these publications, and the Maxwell ratings, is unfortunately you’re dealing with 15, 16, 17-year-old kids, and when they read that they are a 31-point favorite, [and that] they are the 9-seed playing the 24, I think we ended up being a little overconfident. We looked past these guys a little bit, but at the end of the game, we played the way we are capable of playing.”
Winter also believes his team isn’t ready for the season to be over.
“The thing you have to remember is that this is the playoffs. Everybody knows that this is do-or-die. If you don’t advance, you’re turning in your equipment on Monday. We’re just not ready to hand our equipment in yet,” Winter said.