Pine Raiders hold off late run by St. Thomas Aquinas

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pine hung on for a 19-17 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas, after the Falcons made a late comeback in the fourth quarter of Friday’s District 7-2A game at STA.

The Raiders took a 13-0 lead into halftime of the regular season finale. Neither team scored in the third, but in the fourth quarter the Raiders added six points to their lead to go up 19-0.

With about four minutes remaining, St. Thomas Aquinas began to make its comeback, but never had the ball with a chance to go in front.

The Falcons scored and got the two-point conversion to make it, 19-8. St. Thomas got a little closer when Pine took an intentional safety and it was 19-10. The Falcons added another touchdown to make it a two-point game with about 40 seconds to go. St. Thomas tried an onside kick, but the attempt went out of bounds.

“I think our defense played really well until late in the fourth quarter,” Pine coach Bradley Seal said. “We had some busted coverages, but overall, they played well. Offensively, we had trouble early on, but we got the running game going.”

Tate Roach intercepted a pass that set up Pine’s first touchdown.

Joey Seal ran for three touchdowns on two runs of 1 yard each and another of 25 yards. He finished with 31 rushing yards and he had 85 passing yards.

Jakyran Handy ran for 86 yards on 20 carries. He finished the regular season with 1,001 yards on 186 attempts (5.3 yards per carry) with 19 total touchdowns — including 18 rushing touchdowns.

Colby Powell recorded two sacks in Friday’s game.

“I think he played one of his best games all year,” coach Seal said.

Ethan Knight also had a sack.

Pine finished the 2016 regular season with a 6-3 overall record and the Raiders went 3-3 in district.

Pine reached the playoffs as the No. 12 seed. The Raiders are hosting No. 21 Jonesboro-Hodge on Friday at 7 p.m.

The winner plays either defending Class 2A state champion No. 5 Kinder or 28th-seeded Jeanerette.

St. Thomas Aquinas finished the regular season with a 3-7 overall record and 3-3 district record. The Falcons missed the playoffs this season.