A couple of things popped out at me when I saw the stat break down. Page’s defense holding the Northwest rushing game to under 100 yards was huge. In the 2nd half the Pirates made the Vikings do what they haven’t done much of all year, which is pass the ball. I think Page’s game plan was to stop the run and make the Vikings try to beat you in the air.
The Pirates also played a bend but don’t break defense. In the first half, NW Guilford had a 1st and goal from about the 5 yard line and Page stopped the Vikings from getting in on all 4 downs, turning the ball over on downs. Also, Page held the Vikings at the end of the game at the 20 yard line, Northwest needed a touchdown and Page stopped the threat on all 4 downs again.
Page looked like they might run Northwest right off the field on their first possession. The Pirates put together a long 70-yard drive that consumed nearly seven minutes off the clock. The drive was ended when Will Newman snuck in from 1 yard out on third and goal. Austin Anthony’s kick would be blocked and the score is 6-0 at this point in the game.
The rest of the first half for Page would be hampered by a handful of very questionable calls by the referees. The biggest one being, on a Page punt the ball hit a NW player in the back and a line judge saw it and threw his marker down on the ground. Page would pick up the ball and advance to the end zone. The refs huddled for a good 3 minutes and discussed what happened. Instead of Page getting the TD or even the ball where the pirates picked it up. The refs ruled a re-kick. I’m not sure what the ruling on the field was, but I have never seen or heard of that happening before.
That aside, the Vikings would get a gift with the re-kick and towards the end of the half, the Vikings would score off a Carlos Gagliardo catch from Dan Bernard 16 yards out. 7-6 at the half.
Page did a good job of shutting down NW Guilford star RB Chris Kennedy for the most of the game. Sean Pless was more of the threat. NW Guilford would receive the ball at the beginning of the 3rd quarter and they wouldn’t waste time to put together a long drive and score. Pless would plunge into the end zone from 6 yards out. But a very questionable call by the Northwest coaches for the PAT could have cost the Vikings the game. They would elect to go for 2 points, potentially putting Page in a 2 possession deficit, making it 15-6. But, Page would stop the attempt at 2 and the score was 13-6.
The Pirates would put together a nice drive with some big catches by Brad Workinger. The drive would then set up a burst up the middle to the left sideline for a 24 yard TD run. Giving the Pirates much needed confidence. 13-13.
NW Guilford would then try to move down the field on there next possession, but the Page defense shut the Vikings down and would bring up a 3 and out. The Vikings would punt Page deep, inside the 10 yard line. The Pirates would slowly creep out to the 30 yard line. On the next play Page called a drawn up Newman run around the right side. Newman would go untouched into the end zone from 70 yards out for the TD. Just to give a visualization of how fast Newman is, around the 50 yard line, the NW safety and outside linebacker looked like they were standing still as Newman ran by them.
Northwest would get the ball back to try and put a drive together and score, but the Page defense came up big again stopping the Vikings forcing them to punt on 4th and long.
The Pirates would try to run the clock out using all 4 downs to do so. Turning the ball over on downs with about a minute and 40 seconds left on the clock.
Northwest would make a couple of long plays, one of them a 35 yard shuffle pass down the middle to Pless. Setting up a 1st down at the 25 yard line. But, the Vikings offense wouldn’t find anymore openings on the next 4 plays as Page took over after stopping the Vikings tying score drive. Page would kneel down to win the ball game.
Both teams learned a lot from this game. Page took out of it that when your down and battling adversity on the road with the opposing team giving it there all on Senior night and the referees making questionable calls. They never gave up. Northwest played tough and they have a good team over there in Viking Country. NW Guilford plays to their strengths and really controls the line of scrimmage and powers you with their running game. They need to find a way to try and control the tempo of the game a little bit more and they will be a tough out in the playoffs. I think that Page really showed that they edge the Vikings in the speed department last night. But, Northwest really showed that they edge the Pirates in the size department up front. The Vikings offensive line gave Dan Bernard just enough time to throw the ball. Also, even though Will Newman had 3 interceptions he never gave up and put the Pirates offense on his shoulders and scored the tying and go ahead scores.
The Vikings are looking at this situation going into the playoffs. Either a 10 or 11 seed in the 4AA West Bracket.
10. NW Guilford or Vance
11. NW Guilford or Vance
Both #3 Seeds with 6-4 records
The Pirates are looking at this situation going into the playoffs. Either a 5 or 6 seed in the 4A West Bracket.
5. East Burke or Page
6. East Burke or Page
Both #2 Seeds with 7-3 records