Will Newmanâ€™s 25 yard TD pass with 1:39 to play allowed Page to pull out a thrilling 24-23 win over the Whirlies of Grimsley in jam packed Jamieson Stadium. With the win the Whirlies 27 game regular season winning streak was snapped as Grimsley dropped to 7-1 on the season, 1-1 in Metro 4-A action. Page climbs to 4-4, 2-0 in conference play.
Sporting throwback uniforms the Whirlies started out strongly enough as on their first possession Grimsley ground out a 14 play 40 yard five minute march for a 28 yard Stephen Sheppard field goal. Initially the Whirlies were around midfield, but a bad snap on the punt forced Sheppard to run for it and his 14 yard run on 4th and 12 gave Grimsley new life.
Following a Ramon Rosado interception the Whirlies then went 47 yards in 10 plays in just over four minutes to make the score 9-0 with 10:49 to go until intermission as Zack Maynard hit his half brother Keenan Allen for a ten yard score. Allen would have scores receiving, running and passing during this contest and big brother would wind up 10-20 on the night for 145 yards and a TD. However, Sheppard struck the upright on the extra point and as is often the case that missed opportunity would come back to haunt the Whirlies.
At the time though it seemed that Grimsley would do what they do best and that is to grind down their opposition. Page responded to the initial Whirlie onslaught on their ensuing possession by driving 83 yards in 13 plays as the 5:14 march was capped by Newmanâ€™s 23 yard TD pass to Cameron Davis to make the score 9-7 at the half.
Grimsley regained their two score edge as Allen swept 55 yards down the right hand side to complete a quick 7 play 80 yard drive to start the second half. Matt Milsor would miss a FG on the next possession for Page and then Grimsley drove to the Page 39 but the Whirlies were able to move no further. Then in a decision that our colleague Jim Modlin felt was a turning point the Whirlies decided to go for the jugular but when the 4th down conversion failed the Pirates put themselves back into the contest quickly. First Newman hit Davis deep for 39 yards then D.J. McNeil split the Grimsley defense on the next play for the final 22 yards and a 16-14 score after three periods of play.
Still it appeared Grimsley was going to get that historic fourth win in a row on their archrivals when Allen completed a 19 yard pass on a halfback option play to DeAngelo Artis to give Grimsley a 23-14 edge with 9:53 to play completing a 12 play 80 yard drive that took just under four minutes. Page though responded by driving 63 yards in 9 plays as Milsor made up for his earlier miss by connecting on a 27 yard attempt to close the gap to 23-17.
On the next possession Grimsley got out to midfield, but on 4th and 2 the Whirlies special team problems on this night resurfaced this time. With 3:32 to play Sheppard again had to scoop up a bad snap, this time he had no where to escape as Page took over on the Grimsley 37.
Six plays later Newman would toss his second TD of the night with as Bernard took the slip screen and shimmed thru the middle of the Whirlie defense to complete the comeback. Bernard would end up with 6 catches on the evening for 114 yards. Newman was 9-18 for 155 yards and a pair of touchdown. The son of Grimsleyâ€™s athletic director also added to his cause with 89 yards on the ground on 16 attempts as the Pirates balanced attack kept the Whirlies guessing all night long.
Grimsley got to the other side of midfield on their final possession. But on fourth and ten Maynard was flushed out of the pocket and was run out of bounds well short of the marker allowing the Pirates to pull one out in a manner reminiscent of their heyday back in the Marion Kirby era.
(Paul T. Lambeth II is a proud 1988 graduate of Grimsley, you can hear Paul each Sunday from 10a to 2p on WSGE 91.7FM (www.wsge.org) in Dallas NC for his weekly show â€œThe Classic Cornerâ€ which features music from the rock pioneers of the 50â€™s to the jam bands of today with musical stops all along the way!)