Pine Raiders comes back to capture season opening victory

Published 3:32 pm Friday, August 31, 2018

By Geoff Stoute
The Daily Review

MORGAN CITY — Three first-half turnovers came back to bite Central Catholic after a huge Pine High School fourth-quarter rally to stun the Eagles, 40-32.
The Raiders entered the fourth quarter down 34-18 but scored three times, including the final two touchdowns by wide receiver Jordan Anderson on long pass plays, to secure the win.
Anderson finished the game with five receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns.
“Us throwing the ball is not always a bad thing,” Pine Coach Bradley Seal said. “They’re really good. They’re really good up front, but they started pounding us. If they don’t turn the ball over in the first half and just keep it and pound us, pound us, pound us, it’s probably so far ahead we can’t come back.”
Central Catholic Coach Tommy Minton said his team cannot afford to turn the ball over repeatedly against a quality opponent like Pine.
“That’s one thing right there, and then we had an opportunity with six minutes left in the ballgame and four minutes left in the ball game to run the clock out, and we don’t,” he said.
Minton also said the Eagles simply just didn’t tackle Pine’s wide receivers when they had solid coverage on them.
Trailing 18-12 at the half, Central Catholic seized the momentum to begin the third quarter, as the Eagles needed just three plays following the kickoff to punch the ball in the end zone. The drive ended when Davidyione Bias darted 59 yards to the end zone with 10:17 left in the third quarter. Bryce Grizzaffi’s two-point run was good, giving Central Catholic a 20-18 lead.
Bias led the Eagles with 29 carries for 209 yards and three touchdowns.
Pine fumbled the ball on its first offensive play following the score, and the Eagles recovered at the Raiders 39.
Nine plays later, Central Catholic quarterback DeDe Gant connected with tight end Caleb Menina for a 3-yard touchdown completion with 4:44 remaining in the third quarter. The Eagles led 26-18 following a failed two-point conversion.
Menina led the Eagles’ receivers with three catches for 34 yards and a score, while Gant completed 7-of-12 passes for 68 yard with one touchdown and two interceptions. Gant also rushed 10 times for 82 yards and a score.
Central Catholic successfully pulled off an onside kick following the score and again, cashed in as Bias scored on a 24-yard run with 2:36 remaining. Bias’ two-point run was good for a 34-18 Central Catholic lead.
From there, however, Central Catholic’s offense cooled, as the Eagles would not gain another first down.
While Pine was basically one-dimensional the rest of the game, resorting to its passing game by necessity, Markell Cotton and Anderson put the Raiders back in the ball game, and eventually lifted them to victory.
After stopping Central Catholic’s first drive of the fourth quarter, the Raiders scored on three straight possessions.
Cotton had the first score via a 19-yard reception from Logan Temples with 6:54 remaining. Cotton’s two-point run was successful, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 34-26.
Cotton finished the game with five catches for 71 yards and two scores, while Temples completed 11-of-28 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns. Temples also had one rushing touchdown.
Seal said Anderson and Cotton are “really, really good.”
He also complimented the play of Temples.
“Our quarterback stood in there and took some shots,” Seal said.
After a crucial third down stop, keeping Bias two yards short of a first down and forcing a Central Catholic punt, the Raiders needed just two plays to get even closer to the Eagles.
On second down from the Pine 26, Temples found Anderson for a short completion. Anderson slipped a tackled and raced down the field for a 74-yard touchdown with 4:14 remaining in the contest. Pine’s two-point conversion failed, but it had cut its deficit to 34-32.
After forcing another Central Catholic three-and-out, Pine reached the end zone in dramatic fashion.
Facing a fourth-down-and-5 situation from its own 36, Temples again connected with Anderson on a short pass that he turned into a 64-yard touchdown with 1:57 remaining. Temples’ two-point conversion was good for a 40-34 Pine lead.
Central Catholic committed its fourth turnover of the evening on its final drive as Gant was intercepted by Drake Westmoreland with 1:08 remaining, sealing the Pine win.
Early on, Pine drove down the field for a score on its first drive of the game, capped by Temples’ 18-yard run with 10:08 remaining in the first quarter. The two-point run failed, and Pine led 6-0.
“I was surprised the first drive we ran the ball on them like we did, because we knew they’re loading the box,” Seal said.
However, he said the 1-on-1 matchup with defenders on defense is what Pine likes.
While Pine got the ball back on a fumbled kickoff return after Temples’ touchdown and again on the Eagles’ second offensive drive after the Eagles had moved the ball into Raider territory, the Raiders were unable to capitalize.
Central Catholic tied the game at 6 with 7:58 remaining in the first half on a 33-yard run by Gant. The Eagles’ two-point run failed, leaving the score tied at 6.
The teams exchanged touchdowns on the next three drives as Temples completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Cotton for a 12-6 Pine lead with 4:10 remaining in the second quarter before Bias responded with a 6-yard touchdown run with 2:16 remaining to tie the score at 12.
Pine scored the final touchdown of the half via a 5-yard run by Jaheim Williams with 1:57 remaining in the first half for an 18-12 Pine lead.
Pine finished the game with 351 yards of offense (276 passing and 75 rushing), while Central Catholic totaled 370 yards of offense (302 rushing and 68 passing).
Pine will return to action Friday, Sept. 7, when it hosts Varnado, while Central Catholic will travel to Covington to face Archbishop Hannan.