Page overcame over 100 yards of penalties in the first half and three first quarter turnovers as the Pirates pulled away late for an opening night 35-13 win over R.J. Reynolds Friday night at Marion Kirby Stadium. Coach Kevin Gillespie said afterwards that it â€œjust came down to us eliminating mental errors and doing what we do bestâ€.
In spite of two early interceptions Page QB Will Newman directed a six play fifty nine yard drive scoring the first of his two rushing touchdowns on a 32-yd scamper with 3:06 left in the first period to open the scoring. Newman would finish the evening unofficially with 101 yards rushing on 10 attempts as he also directed the balanced Page attack effectively thru the air completing 12-20 for 119 yards including all five of his attempts in the 2nd half. The Pirates increased their early advantage when Demons QB Jeremy Peterson was called for intentional grounding in his end zone.
However the ensuing free kick was muffed and RJR took advantage by driving 47yds in 8 plays as Jeremy Peterson threw a little swing pass to Linwood Harmon to cut Pageâ€™s advantage to 9-6. Matt Millsor concluded the first half scoring by kicking the first of his two field goals as his 23 yard boot extended the Pirates edge to 12-6 at intermission.
Reynolds took their only lead of the evening in the opening moments of the 2nd half as Peterson tossed his 2nd touchdown pass as his perfectly executed screen pass to Dana Stanback broke loose for an 80-yd score. Page responded in kind however as D.J McNeilâ€™s 50 yard run set up Lenny Gordonâ€™s 7-yd blast to give the Pirates a lead they would never relinquish. McNeil lived up to the preseason hype by scooting for 155 yards on 15 rushes and Gordon provided a power packed 70yds on 11 carries as the Pirates were able to run at will all evening long.
It appeared however the RJR would retake the lead as the Demons drove inside the Page five, but the Pirates defense stiffened and held Reynolds on downs shifting the momentum squarely to the Pirates. At this point Page did what good teams do and that is put their opponent away as a 16 play 77 yard seven minute drive lead to a 40yd Millsor field goal and a 21-13 Pirate edge with 8:45 to play.
On the ensuing RJR possession the Pirate defense settled the issue as LB Demarcus Ferguson stepped in front of a Peterson aerial and sprinted 25 yards to extend the Pirate advantage to 28-13. Newman would complete the scoring for Page as his 11yd run with 2:39 left completed a 9 play 46 yd march.
Page hosts Northeast Guilford next Friday night while RJR will travel to East Forsyth.