Varnado pulls away from Pine

Published 11:26 pm Friday, September 11, 2015

Varnado broke open a 19-17 lead in the fourth quarter and defeated Pine 39-17 in Friday’s home opener.

The Wildcats led 19-10 with 5:35 left in the third quarter after scoring on an 80-yard pass from D.J. Jefferson, who passed to Armontee Kemp on a deep crossing pattern. Kemp took it the rest way for the score. The extra point was no good, keeping it 19-10.

Kemp had 126 yards receiving.

Pine rebounded and scored in three plays on the ensuing drive with Adarrius Berry, who ran for 130 yards and a touchdown, capping off the drive with a 23-yard run. Colton Terrell’s point after was perfect, trimming it to 19-17.

It stayed that way until the fourth quarter when Jefferson found Delrick Abrams for a 22-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 25-17. The extra point was no good, keeping the lead at eight points with five minutes on the clock.

Pine punted with 4:12 left and Varnado capped off a 53-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown by Wilbert Gray. The extra point was no good and the lead was 31-17 with 2:27 left.

After a Pine penalty, Varnado tried an onsides kick and recovered it.

“We felt that was the right time,” Varnado coach Scott Shaffett said. “We needed to put them away. Every time we get a lead, they come back and score.”

Following the kick, the Wildcats ended up scoring again with 1:08 left on Nick Darden’s 26-yard run. Jefferson found Abrams for the two-point conversion, finishing up the scoring at 39-17. It was Darden’s second touchdown of the game. He also caught a 27-yarder in the second quarter.

Shaffett said the reason the Wildcats went for two was because they were struggling with the extra points.

Jefferson finished with 252 yards passing and three touchdowns.

Shaffett said right now they want to throw the long passes, but they sometimes forget that shorter passes like screens can open up longer plays.

“We ran the zero routes and the underneath routes really well,” Shaffett said. “We’ve got to run those and quit thinking about the long bombs and let long bombs come when they’re supposed to, because offensively we’re not doing what we need to do. We want to throw the bomb and then we’re three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out.”

Pine coach Bradley Seal said it’s early on in the season and that his team is playing well, but they’re just not making the plays to win a football game right now.

“I know we gave up a touchdown on fourth-and-9 in the second quarter that you just can’t do,” Seal said. “You can’t do little things like that to give up the big play.”

The game was close throughout, as neither team’s lead was bigger than nine points until late.

Pine forced Varnado to punt on the opening drive and scored in 10 plays when Jarwin Jordan ran the ball in on third-and-goal from the 14. Terrell’s extra point made it 7-0.

It stayed that way until the second quarter. Varnado faced fourth-and-9 from Pine’s 27, when Jefferson hit Darden with a short pass and Darden ran to the end zone for the touchdown. Nick Blackburn’s extra point was good to tie the game at 7-7.

Pine went into the half ahead 10-7 after Terrell was perfect on a 27-yard field goal with 12 seconds on the clock.

Varnado took its first lead of the game in the third quarter on a 12-yard run by Desmond Harry. The extra point was no good, keeping the score at 13-10.

Varnado is 2-0, heading into Friday’s road game against Berwick. Pine fell to 0-2 and hosts Independence for its home opener Friday.