Page came into Friday night the underdog against unbeaten East Forsyth, but the high-octane offensive barrage by the Pirate’s Javon Leake and Will Jones was too much for one of the top defensive teams in the state. The Eagles threatened late, but an Alan Tisdale interception with 1:05 remaining in the game put the victory on ice for Page.
“On the first play of the game, I wanted to make sure they knew we weren’t the underdog,” Page defensive end Tyler DeBerry said following the 34-21 victory over the Eagles in Page’s 2016 homecoming game.
Both teams went three and out in their first possessions of the game. The defenses from both sides were pumped early. That showed when Will Jones was intercepted for only the second time this season on the only play of the Pirates’ second possession. Javon Leake had other ideas, and was determined to make his presence known. He did just that on the second play of Page’s third possession, when he ran a stunning 92 yards for the opening touchdown, giving his team an important early lead.
The Maryland-commit rushed for 241 yards on 22 carries and for two touchdowns. The touchdowns were the first and final scores for his team, bookending this turf battle.
Although Leake’s touchdown run for 92 yards was spectacular, the play of the night was by East’s Christian Beal who caught a 32-yard pass from Madison Cone – usually a cornerback—bobbled the handoff from quarterback Brandon Bullins, then sent the ball up in the air, and with coverage all over him, made a one-handed grab in the end zone for the Eagle’s first score of the night. The score was 14-7 Page going into halftime.
Will Jones’ touchdown runs were both from inside the ten yard-line. His first, a nine yard rush, came two and a half minutes after Javon Leake’s breakout run to open the scoring. The second, angrier than the first, began the scoring in the third quarter. Jones found Ronald Polite for a 27-yard strike win just under two minutes to play in the third to put Page up 28-14. Jones threw two interceptions on the night, but also caught one when East Forsyth quarterback Brandon Bullins’ pass was read by Jones and picked off in the fourth quarter. Following the interception, Christian Beal laid a hit on Jones that ended his night.
Jones was all smiles after the game.
“Definitely a little bit of revenge, and (the interception catch) felt great, but we had a great game,” Jones said. “We emphasized execution and did our thing out there. We didn’t win by luck.”
Although the final score was 34-21, the Eagles came roaring back in the fourth quarter and cut the Pirates’ lead to a touchdown. With 3:50 remaining to play in the game, Christian Beal broke out for a 25-yard score that would bring his team within one, and gave Page fans déjà vu, recalling last season’s 31-30 loss to East.
It seemed as if the Eagles had momentum on their side, but then Pirates’ back-up quarterback, Nick Baker, handed the ball off to the nimble Leake on the 34 yard line. He took it to the Promised Land to put Page back in front by 13.
The Eagles wouldn’t go away and battled back, driving inside the Page 30 with a minute and a half left in the game. It was Senior Alan Tisdale who came up with the final stop for Page, picking off Brandon Bullins, and securing victory for the Pirates.
Page coach Kevin Gillespie said that senior leadership was key in this victory.
“(The seniors) were over on the sidelines saying ‘It’s not over’ and ‘We’ve got this’ and the other players listened,” Gillespie said. “It’s a long ride; this is a long season. This game right here will hopefully help our confidence. Hopefully we will fine-tune some things next week, get some guys healthy because we’re a little banged up, and then get ready for conference play.
“Both teams made some mistakes. We were just able to overcome ours,” an exuberant Gillespie added.
Page beat the odds and overcame East Forsyth and will now go into their bye-week. The Pirates will need the momentum that they have built, running their non-conference schedule with a record of (5-1). Now comes winning conference. To do that, they will have to face another huge opponent, fierce conference-foe Dudley. That is the 2016 Football Senior Night for the Pirates, and will be a great game.
East Forsyth 0 7 7 7 – 21
Page 14 0 14 6 – 34
Page- Javon Leake 92 run (Thomas Murray kick)
Page- Will Jones 9 run (Murray kick)
East- Christian Beal 32 pass from Madison Cone (Cameron Lischke kick)
Page- Jones 5 run (Murray kick)
East- Nick Childs 62 Punt return (Lischke kick)
Page- Ronald Polite 27 pass from Jones (Murray kick)
East- Beal 25 run (Lischke kick)
Page- Leake 64 run (kick failed)
Jones: 10-22 73yds, TD, 2INT ; 8car 13 yds, 2 TD ; INT REC on Defense
Leake: 22car 241yds, 2TD
Polite: 3 Rec, 46yds, TD
Guilford County High School Football Poll: Week 6
1 Dudley (6-0)
T-2 Page (5-1)
T-2 Southwest Guilford (6-0)
4 Eastern Guilford (5-0)
5 Northwest Guilford (4-1)
6 Southeast Guilford (3-2)
7 High Point Christian (4-0)
8 Southern Guilford (4-2)
9 High Point Central (3-3)
10 Smith (2-3)