Patriots run past PRC

Published 5:45 am Sunday, September 27, 2009


Item Staff Writer

JACKSON — The Forest Hill Patriots struck for two touchdowns in the first quarter, and gradually eased away from the Pearl River Central Blue Devils to claim its first district win, 30-6, in class 3 5A action here Friday night in Patriot stadium.

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It was the first-ever meeting of the two teams, and the action left the Blue Devils at 0-5, still looking for their first win of the season, and the Patriots at 4-1 facing another district foe, the Maroon Tide, Friday night in Picayune.

The Patriots, known for decades as the Rebels up until last year when they changed their name, are off to one of their best starts.

Patriot head coach Mario Lane told the press he was proud of the Patriots first win in district play and would be getting ready for his next district opponent, Picayune.

The Blue Devils face Stone County Friday at Hendrix Stadium in Carriere.

The Patriots jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter when quarterback Isaiah James scampered 37 yards for the first touchdown, and then James tossed a pass to wide receiver Patrick Gray for a 15-yard pass play and a touchdown.

Kicker Zachary Pendleton’s kicks for both extra points was good, and at the end of the first quarter it was 14-0, Forest Hill.

The Blue Devils almost pulled off a surprise in the first quarter, that, if it had worked, might have rung up the game’s first score and given the momentum to Pearl River. But it didn’t work; the Blue Devils couldn’t follow through.

Blue Devil kicker Nick Miller chip-shot a short 10-yard, on-side, game-opening kickoff, and wide receiver Ryan Jarrell, who got downfield right behind the ball, pounced on the ball at the Patriot 35.

However, four attempts to travel the 35 yards to pay dirt failed, churning up only five yards, and the Patriots took over on their own 30 and then put together the two TD drives that gave them their 14-point, first-quarter lead.

It was a brilliant try that no one expected and that would have changed the complexion of the game if the Blue Devil offense had been able to capitalize on the recovery.

In second quarter action, the Blue Devils failed to capitalize on a second chance, this time to draw within 7 points of the Patriots and get back in the game.

Patriot punter Trevontae Willis bobbled a snap from center, which was low, and Blue Devil Dusty Lewis smothered Willis on the 15.

Pearl River then set up offensive operations on the Patriots’ 15 yard line.

Runs by quarterback Bry Spence and running back Jacob Smith moved the ball to the Patriot 8, short of the first, which turned the ball over to the Patriots, who marched down the field and added three more points on a 30-yard field goal by Pendleton with only 5 seconds left in the first-half. That made it 17-0, Patriots, at the half-time break.

The Patriots’ third TD came with only 57 seconds left in the third period. Running back Marquis McGloster weaved his way straight up the middle, breaking two tackles, for a 25-yard dash to pay dirt. Pendleton’s kick was good and it was 24-0, Patriots.

Pearl River fans finally got a chance to yell with 9:24 left in the game when Spence connected with wide receiver Jacob Smith for a 69-yard pass for the Blue Devils first and only TD for the night.

The Blue Devils set up on their own 31 after receiving a punt. Spence dropped back and hit Smith over the middle at about the Blue Devil 45.

Smith pegged the ball over his right shoulder, shook off a Patriot defensive back and scampered 50 yards to the end zone. Miller’s point after was blocked. It was 24-6, Patriots.

The Patriots’ last score came with 6:25 left in the game on a 27-yard dash by McGloster, who scored two TDs all night. Pendleton’s kick for the PAT was blocked, and the game ended at 30-6, Patriots.