By Jack Jeffrey | Pinewood Prep Contributor
It was a disappointing night for Pinewood Prep as they fell to Northwood Academy 35-12. With the loss, the Panthers dropped to 0-8 on the season.
Pinewood looked good early in the game. Quarterback Myron Wigfall took off for a 70 yard touchdown on the panthers opening drive, but a blocked extra point kept the score at 6-0 with 10:21 left in the first quarter.
The Panther defense then stepped up, forcing a three and out and giving the ball back to their offense. This time around though, Northwood’s senior linebacker Sullivan Watkins intercepted Wigfall’s pass on third down. To add insult to injury, Wigfall was injured on the play and did not return.
Pinewood was also without linebacker and defensive leader Cameron Carrol who was sidelined with a shoulder injury. “It just hurt to lose the game,” said receiver Addison Venitelli after the game. “We felt that if we had our starting quarterback and our biggest best defensive player, we would have won.”
The Chargers took advantage of the short field after the interception, as running back Tyler Gadson took a handoff 11 yards to put his team on the board. A successful extra point gave the Chargers a 7-6 lead with 4:48 to go in the first quarter.
Pinewood struggled to find a rhythm with backup quarterback T.J. Hatchett in for Wigfall. Pinewood was forced to punt, giving the ball back to the Chargers. The Northwood offense leaned on Gadson, giving him six handoffs on the drive. Quarterback, Gabe Johnson, then took the ball into the end-zone himself, extending the lead to 14-6 with 7:03 in the second quarter.
Both defenses stepped up time and time again in the second quarter as neither team found another score in the half. Tyler Gadson made a huge play before halftime, intercepting Hatchett’s pass in the red-zone to hold onto his teams 8 point lead.
Northwood Academy took control of the game in the second half. Northwood took their opening drive for a touchdown. Wide receiver Thomas Cook made a big grab for 30 yards to put his team in position. Tyler Gadson put the finishing touches on the drive as he took the ball into the end-zone from 1 yard out making the score 21-6.
Pinewood wouldn’t bow out just yet. T.J. Hatchett led the offense down the field, showing some mobility on a 25 yard run. Running back Jake Latham then took the ball in from 3 yards out for a score. An unsuccessful 2-point conversion put the Panthers down 21-12 with 1:31 left in the third quarter.
Northwood Academy’s offense continued rolling and the Panthers couldn’t keep up. Tyler Gadson broke off a run for a 40-yard touchdown extending the lead to 28-12. A T.J. Hatchett interception on Pinewood’s next possession gave the Chargers a short field. The Chargers, led by Gadson, put the game out of reach. Gadson broke off runs for 20 and 40 yards on the drive, before Gabe Johnson scored from a yard out. Johnson’s touchdown set the score at 35-12 with only 4:47 left in the ball game.
Pinewood receiver Ben Brown expressed his frustrations with the turnovers the Panther’s gave up after the game. “We didn’t capitalize on our opportunities and they capitalized on ours,” said Brown. “I wish we would’ve executed better because if we wouldn’t have made so many critical errors we would’ve set ourselves up for a much better chance to win.”
Pinewood only has two games left on their schedule and spirits are low. Team Captain, Grayson Mann is trying to keep his head up though and make the most of what’s left on the schedule. “I think we just have to rebound and recover,” said Mann. “Friday was very tough as we expected a lot out of ourselves and the result is not what we wanted. We have to come together though, and finish the season strong.
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