Pinewood finishes the season at 1-9
This season has been long and difficult for the Pinewood Panthers and, on the whole, Friday night's game against the visiting Cyclones of Porter-Gaud proved to be no exception.
Although the home team lost 35-16, the Panthers created some fireworks along the way and didn't waste much time in getting to it.
Dehlon Brooks took the opening kickoff on the 3-yard line and returned it 27 yards to the Pinewood 30. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Bobby Casey took the snap and lateraled to running back Kris Johnson, who heaved a strike to a wide-open CT Frederick who found the end zone for a Panther lead only 27 seconds into the game. Kevin Weber booted the extra point.
The lead for the home team was short-lived, however, as the visitors immediately put together an eight play, 65-yard drive of their own culminating in a five-yard touchdown by Trey Pierce who had a good night, puncturing the Panther defense for 150 yards. Trey Low's extra point tied the game at seven.
Pinewood bounced back on its ensuing possession, moving the ball effectively until a fumble on the eighth play ended a promising drive. The Cyclones drove the ball in from midfield, capping things off with a 15-yard touchdown keeper by quarterback Thomas Rodgers to break the tie. Rodgers also had an effective night, running for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He passed for two more.
Later in the second quarter Pinewood Weber apparently buried the visitors with a punt that was downed on the Cyclones 3. However Porter-Gaud put together a penalty-assisted, 97-yard drive to go ahead 21-7, a lead which would prove to be insurmountable.
Not that the Panthers accepted this fact, however.
The home team returned a 40-yard kickoff 37 yards. Two straight passes to Donnell Bryan following a 15-yard run put the ball on the Cyclone 4. With just less than four minutes left in the half, Casey kept for the score. The point after was wide to the left. Even so, the Panthers were still in this game trailing by 8 at the half despite several costly penalties in the first two quarters.
Both teams exchanged punts to open the second half of play. Then Porter, behind the powerful and elusive running of quarterback Thomas Rodgers and Trey Pierce, hammered the ball on eight straight running plays downfield for the score which made it 28-13. In spite of this body blow to their hopes the Panthers did not quit.
Taking the ball from its own 28, Pinewood moved to the Porter 25 in 10 plays. From their Weber kicked a 42- yard field goal to up the score to 28-16. The visitors added another score on an 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter to end the scoring.
“I was proud of our squad Friday night,” Pinewood coach Jody Kafina said. “The last game of the season is always tough; the seniors are playing in their last high school game and you hate to see the disappointment in their eyes. We played well at times and had our chances to make plays to put us in position to win. This season has been a disappointing one, we had high hopes to make a change in the direction of the program, but with a huge amount of injuries and having to rely on sophomores and freshman it kept us behind all year. Hopefully the offseason will bring some renewed enthusiasm and promise for next year."
Casey completed 19 of 38 pass attempts for 208 yards. Kris Johnson completed one pass for the 70-yard touchdown. Bryan led all receivers with eight catches for 91 yards. C.T. Frederick had three catches including the game-opening 70-yard TD reception. Wilson was 3 for 43 yards, and Jarrett Londergan snagged five for 45.
Jarrett Londergan carried 14 times for 52 yards and Casey kept seven times for 19 yards and a touchdown.
Leslie Redden led the Pinewood defense with 11 tackles, followed closely by Joseph Bates with 10 and Jeremy Hunt with nine. Zach Latham and Weber had eight stops apiece while Zack Kanlic had seven and Marcus Clark and Andrew Niemeyer had six each. Bryan had four plus an interception.
The Panthers wind up the season with a 1-9 record.