The first two weeks of the high school football season were not kind to the Pike County Pirates football squad as they sat at 0-2 but they redeemed themselves as they hosted Southwest Macon Friday, Sept. 2 and traveled to play and defeat the Randolph-Clay Red Devils on Friday, Sept. 9.
On Sept. 2, the Pirates received the opening kick-off and the reoccurring theme for the night was running the ball dominantly. The opening drive went seven plays and 79 yards over three minutes and was capped off by a Jakilen King three-yard run. The Pirates led 7-0 after converting their first PAT of the young season. The lead was short-lived as the Patriots from Southwest Macon scored six plays later on a long TD pass down the right sideline. The two-point conversion for the Patriots was successful and Southwest Macon had taken an early 8-7 lead.
On the next possession, the Pirates started in great field position, but a fumble on first down gave the Patriots the ball in Pike territory. Southwest Macon was able to push the ball to the Pirate two-yard line, but a bad snap coupled with a string of penalties.
The Pirates defense held and then the Pirates offense really got to work, scoring on three of the next five drives in the game on runs of 28 and two yards by Gage Lee. King ended the scoring for the Pirates in the first half with a 45-yard run and the Pirates had a 28-8 lead.
The Pirates defense played great after the opening drive in the second half and were able to keep the Patriots off of the scoreboard until mid-way through the third quarter. After forcing a turnover on the opening possession of the second half, the Pirates scored on a 49-yard run by King and had a 35-8 lead. The Pirates and Patriots would exchange scores until the final margin showed at 49-20 Pike County.
The Pirates offense had dominating numbers to mirror their performance. Damarien Ross, Gage, Lee and Jakilen King all had 100-yard games. The Pirates offense amassed 503 yards on just 45 plays. The Pirates rushed 43 times for 496 yards and 7 TDs. The defense was paced by Bryce Sammons and Lane Woodward with five tackles each. Cameron Tuggle had three tackles, four passes broken up and two interceptions on the evening. Bryce Sammons also collected his first varsity interception as well. Jakilen King had two tackles for loss in the effort to go along with the Pirates’ only sack. In what was a must-win for the Pirates, both sides of the team came to play. Special teams converted seven of seven PATs and an onside kick. It was easily the Pirates best game of the year, and it is something the team needs to build on.
The Pirates went on the road and beat the Randolph-Clay Red Devils 42-6 on Sept. 9.
The Pirates won the toss and deferred their option to the second half. After tackling the Randolph-Clay returner inside the 25 yard-line to begin the game, the defense was able to force a punt after six plays. The offense took over at the Pirates 29 yard-line and went 71 yards in 13 plays for the game’s first score. After a three and out by the defense, the Pirates offense was driving again to score but a fumble stopped the drive inside the Randolph-Clay 30-yard line. The Pirates defense did an outstanding job of getting the ball back for the Pike County offense after four plays. The Pirates then began the process of separating themselves from Red Devils.
Jakilen King’s second touchdown run of the night capped the third drive of the game for the Pirates and gave them a 14-point lead. The defense continued its dominance and got the ball back to the offense quickly. King capped off another drive with a TD run and a 21-0 lead for the Pirates. The most intense defense setting of the first half happened when the Pirates were forced to play an untimed down from the 8-yard line on the last play of the first half. The Pirate’s defense was able to hold and preserve the 21-0 lead heading into the break.
The second half started with a special teams’ explosive play as Lane Woodward took the opening kick-off of the second half 88-yards for a TD and a 28-0 lead. After a quick three and out by the defense, the offense went 79 yards in four plays. The big play was a 50-yard run by King for his fourth TD of the game for the Pirates. The scoring was capped when Riley Gordon scored from nine yards out to give the Pirates a 42-0.
The Pirates defense kept the Red Devils scoreless for three quarters, and completely dominated the game, holding Randolph-Clay to under 200 yards of total offense. Lane Woodward, Cam Tuggle, Brayden Ridgeway, Bryce Sammons and Hydyn Littleton had excellent nights for the Pirates secondary. The defensive front seven did an excellent job of containing the Red Devils offense all night.
On offense, the Pirates amassed 362 yards, 358 of that was rushing. Gage Lee, Riley Gordon, Damarien Ross and Jakilen King carried the load. The offense was perfect on third down through three quarters, and didn’t punt until 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The offense was led by King with 18 carries, 191 yards and four touchdowns.
The Pirates will travel to Macon to face the Howard Huskies at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16.