MOUNTAIN PINE -- Despite playing its third game of the season due to COVID-19, Mountain Pine showed that it is not a team to discount as the Red Devils took a 36-0 win over Subiaco Academy Friday night for homecoming and senior night at Stanley May Field.
Mountain Pine head coach Sam Counce was pleased with his team's defensive effort in handing the Trojans (6-2, 4-1 West) their second loss of the season after a 60-13 win last week over Decatur.
"We played good on defense," he said. "You know, I thought we did a good job. Our kids, we kind of have a deal where they have to do up-downs (a particularly strenuous practice drill) for every point scored, and we kept them out of the end zone there at the end. ... It just was a team effort. You know, when you have homecoming and senior night it's tough. I was concerned, and it hadn't been a good day for me, but now it is."
The Red Devils (2-1, 2-1 West) wasted no time getting on the board early in the first quarter as they beat the Trojans at their own game, taking it directly to the end zone. Red Devils sophomore running back Isaiah Miles took the handoff from senior quarterback Josiah Walpole to go 65 yards for the touchdown with less than a minute off the clock, carrying the ball in on the conversion play for an early 8-0 lead.
Using a hurry-up offense that often trips up defense, the Trojans were unable to overcome the Red Devils, and Miles picked off a pass on a fourth-and-7 play to give Mountain Pine a short field. With 2:56 left in the half, Dobbins broke through the middle, leaving defenders on the ground, to go 52 yards for the touchdown. Walpole ran the ball on the conversion play for a 16-0 lead at halftime.
The Trojans were forced to play the entire second half without senior Adam Ackel, after he was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct near the end of the first half.
"We lost one of our best players to some stupidity, really," said Trojans head coach Mike Berry. "You can't do that. You can't lose a senior leader like that and especially in eight-man football where you don't have very many."
Mountain Pine's defense continued to shine as it kept the Trojans under wraps, and 40 seconds into the fourth quarter, Walpole ran the ball in from the 3 for a 22-0 lead after the failed conversion.
On the ensuing possession, the Trojans' double-pass play didn't go as expected when Dobbins grabbed a pick-six, sprinting 55 yards for the touchdown with 10:25 left to play. Mountain Pine senior Braydon Radley ran the ball in on the extra-points play, and the ever-alert Dobbins picked off another pass to set up the Red Devils' final touchdown of the night, Walpole finding sophomore Jayden Walker on a 25-yard scoring shot.
The Trojans came as close as the Mountain Pine 5 yard line in the final minute of play, but Miles stopped quarterback Wesley Schluterman in his tracks on fourth-and-goal to put the Red Devils in victory formation.
"I think it's always a test to see what kind of leadership you have, and can you overcome some mistakes on the road, and we just couldn't get going," Berry said, noting it was the Trojans' second road game this season. "It seemed like every time we got going, we would make a mistake. ... Not a lot went our way, and we didn't respond well. And you know sometimes when you've been winning games like we've been winning games, maybe you need a game like that going into the playoffs.
"It just wakes you up and makes you realize that maybe we're not everything we thought we were, and we can't play bad against a good team. We knew they were good, watching them on film they scared me to death. (Miles), I knew we would be hard-pressed to get him on the ground because he's everything we're not. He's physical; he's big; he's fast. ... We're just not a lot of those things. So we rely on execution and fundamentals and when we play with that, we're pretty good -- we feel like we can play with anybody. But when we don't, we struggle, and we struggled from the opening kickoff tonight."
Although he was very pleased with the team's performance, Counce said his team cannot get complacent.
"You know, when you play like that, it kind of sets a bar," said Counce. "You know, what you can do. And you'll be disappointed if they don't step back up and do it again. And that's my job as a coach to make sure they do -- to make sure that the bar stays high. And we'll do that. These kids come back and play hard. They like to win, and they're talented."
Dobbins had 18 carries for 205 yards and two interceptions on defense. Miles rushed for 178 yards, and he had eight stops and an interception. Walpole went 3 for 12 passing for 45 yards along with 66 yards rushing, and he led the team with 10 tackles. Sophomore James Glasco finished with eight tackles while senior Jordan Pruitt and Christian Kirkley each had seven.
Schluterman went 5 for 12 passing for 28 yards and rushed for 15 yards, along with two tackles. Senior Payne Lee finished with 27 touches for 172 yards and six tackles. Sophomore Giovanni Vargas had 37 yards rushing and 28 yards receiving with four tackles. Senior Zach Venable had five tackles, and senior Ethan Spillers had 7 tackles.
The Red Devils travel to play Western Yell County (1-3, 1-1) this Friday while the Trojans will host will host Spring Hill (1-1, 1-1).
Jr. Red Devils use late
push to top Jr. Trojans
Facing a 12-point deficit with less than 4 minutes to play in the game, the junior Red Devils shocked Subiaco Academy by scoring 14 unanswered points for the win Friday night at Stanley May Field.
Mountain Pine's offense finally got going following Aidan Putman's kickoff return to Mountain Pine's 44. After a short gain from running back Zeke Turner, quarterback Damian Shurley got loose to go 58 yards for Mountain Pine's first touchdown of the night with 3:44 left in the ballgame. Shurley ran the ball in on the conversion play to pull within 12-8.
The junior Red Devils defense stepped up to force a Subiaco Academy punt with 57 seconds to play. Taking possession at their own 38 yard line, Shurley hit the left side for a 15-yard gain to put them into junior Trojans territory.
After another rush by Shurley to the 41 yard line, Mountain Pine called timeout. With 28 seconds to go, Shurley hit a sprinting Tyree Hatley downfield to move the ball to the 2 yard line. Hatley ran the ball in two plays later as the clock ran out for a dramatic finish.
Subiaco Academy also struggled to get its offense going, scoring their first touchdown with 5:29 left in the game. The junior Trojans recovered the onside kick, and running back Anthony Gehrig ran the ball in with 4:33 left for a 12-0 lead.
The junior Red Devils were led by Shurley with 127 yards rushing and 56 yards passing while Hatley rushed for 154 yards. Jared Self led the defensive effort with nine tackles while Putman had seven and Jeremiah Petty six.