Southern Pines Pinecrest wore down Reynolds with a bruising ground game and rolled to an easy 52-14 victory in the home opener for the Demons on Friday night at Deaton-Thompson Stadium.
The Patriots (3-0) scored early and often in the first half, continued to dominate play in the third quarter before using mostly reserves in the final period.
Pinecrest’s first touchdown came all but gift-wrapped, when linebacker Mac McFadden scored on a 24-yard fumble return before the game was three minutes old. Kasey Campbell kicked the first of his six extra points for a 7-0 lead.
The Demons (1-2) answered with their first touchdown when Tyreik Leach scored on a 30-yard run and Jack Doherty kicked the extra point for a 7-7 tie midway through the first quarter.
Reynolds scored its only other touchdown late in the second quarter on a 15-yard pass from Caden Davis to Paul Matheson; Doherty kicked the extra point and the Demons were closer at 27-14.
“We had a hard time running the ball and that was a difference maker,” said Coach Pat Crowley of Reynolds. “I don’t know if we got tired, but we have a lot of guys going both ways and they have a lot of players. And they run the ball very well and we don’t have a lot of beef up front.”
Reynolds lost quarterback Davis to a leg injury late in the third quarter. He had to be helped off the field and didn’t return. He was replaced in the lineup by Duke Ferree.
“I think he (Davis) is going to be OK, but we will have him checked out,” Crowley said.
The back-breaker for Reynolds came in the final minute of the second quarter with the Demons facing fourth and inches at their own 31. Crowley opted to go for the first down on a quarterback sneak, but the Pinecrest defense held.
Three plays later quarterback Ben Garback connected with Zyheem Kelly for an 11-yard touchdown pass, Nick Boulanger ran for the 2-point conversion and the Patriots had a commanding 35-14 lead with 14 seconds left in the first half.
“The one thing I didn’t want to do was give them the ball back with any time left (on the clock) and they had gotten some pressure on our punt team,” Crowley said. “It backfired on us. That one was on me.”
Pinecrest scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter to all but wrap up the victory and the Patriots added insult to injury when Campbell kicked a 37-yard field goal with 3:57 left in the fourth quarter, increasing their lead from 49-14 to 52-14.
Garback scored on a 1-yard run late in the first quarter and hit Clint McNeill with a 24-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.
Reynolds is back home again next Friday night against rival Mount Tabor.
Pinecrest 52 Reynolds 14
Pinecrest 14 21 14 3 — 52
Reynolds 7 7 0 0 — 14
Pine — Mac McFadden, 24 fumble return (Kasey Campbell kick)
Rey — Tyreik Leach, 30 run (Jack Doherty kick)
Pine — Ben Garback, 1 run (Campbell kick)
Pine — Clint McNeill, 24 pass from Garback (Campbell kick)
Pine — Zyheem Kelly, 17 run (kick failed)
Rey — Paul Metheson, 15 pass from Caden Davis (Doherty kick)
Pine — Kelly, 11 pass from Garback (Campbell kick)
Pine — Anthony Martin, 25 run (Campbell kick)
Pine — Savion Kiser, 23 run (Campbell kick)
Pine — Campbell, 37 FG
Records: Pinecrest (3-0), Reynolds (1-2)