Early and often scoring, along with tremendous defensive play led the Page Pirates to a 41-16 rout of the Providence Panthers in the second round of the NCHSAA 4-AA West playoffs on Friday night at Marion Kirby stadium.
The Pirates scored on their opening drive and just 1:13 into the game to set the tone. Three big runs from Cody King, Assad Alston, and Javondre Paige led the Pirates to the four yard line where King scampered into the end zone.
Providence quarterback Jack Cherry connected for 42 yards on the Panthers first play from scrimmage and began a drive that would reach the Pirate three yard line; however, the drive ended on the first of two huge Page goal-line stands on the night, giving the Pirates possession.
Two plays later, Javondre Paige connected with Naseem Alston for 90 yards and Page led 14-0 with 6:52 to play in the first quarter.
The two teams traded turnovers following the Pirates’ second score of the night. Cherry threw an interception to Page’s Alex Gray, and Cody King gave the ball back to Providence just two plays later on a fumble.
On their ensuing drive, Providence was forced to punt, and the Pirates brought the house. The punt attempt was blocked and Page’s Jacobe Spencer recovered. Spencer pranced untouched into the end zone to make the Pirates lead 21-0.
The Panthers’ first points of the game came on a 33-yard field goal with 11:55 to play in the first half making the score 21-3.
Providence’s red zone troubles continued when Page’s Alan Tisdale intercepted Cherry at the Page seven yard line, a turning point in the game as it kept the Panthers out of the end zone, and would set up the next Pirate score.
Following the interception, the Pirates had 2:10 until halftime and embarked on an 8-play 1:59 drive that culminated in a 36-yard Javondre Paige touchdown run. The Paige touchdown gave the Pirates a 27-3 lead going to halftime after Thomas Murray’s extra point attempt hit the upright and bounced out.
Sincere Davis added a Page touchdown in the third quarter, an 18-yard run, making the score 34-3.
To begin the fourth quarter, Javondre Paige found Naseem Alston for their second touchdown connection of the game, this time from 30 yards out, to increase the Page lead to 41-3.
After the Pirates began substituting players, Providence added two touchdowns. Star running back Julian Boddie, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards on the year and over 100 in all 12 games, ran in from one yard to make the score 41-9. Providence recovered an on-sides kick following the Boddie touchdown and their next drive resulted in Matt Smith catching a seven yard touchdown pass from Jack Cherry for the final score of the game.
The final score was 41-16 in favor of the home-team Pirates who will advance to play No. 1 ranked and (12-0) Mallard Creek next Friday night in Charlotte.
Page quarterback Javondre Paige knew that his team needed to come out strong to get the victory.
“We wanted to come out strong all week,” Paige said. “We knew this was a tough Charlotte team and if we came out strong we would have a good chance to win.
“Our receivers played really well. With us being able to throw the ball, it helps the receivers and running backs be able to execute in both ways,” Paige added.
Page head coach Jared Rolfes felt the bye week his team had in week one of the playoffs was key to the victory.
“I think having a bye week is a positive thing because you get to heal up and rest,” Rolfes said. “We’re still youthful at some positions so having a week to work on things and make us better was really big.”
Rolfes was also very happy with the performance of his defense.
“I continue to be happy with how we get them prepared defensively and what our kids do to prepare,” he said. “We’re talented on defense– there’s no hiding that. (Providence’s) two scores came when we were substituting players. For us to win a championship, and it’s one game at a time, we have to play great defense.”
The coach also credited the play of his quarterback and his preparation, as well as the performance of receiver Naseem Alston.
“I’ve seen Naseem’s film from a year ago and I felt like Naseem needed to build his confidence as he progressed though conference play,” Rolfes said. “He’s using his big body, he’s got great speed, he catches the ball well in space, and he’s really learning how to attack it. He’s peaking at the right time, and we have a good receiving and slot core so that’s exciting.”
Rolfes was proud overall of the outcome and looks forward to traveling to Mallard Creek Friday.
“Our goal is to stop the run first, and we did that,” he said. “They never put a drive together against our first team and this was a good Charlotte team. To win in the manner that we did is exciting. We don’t have school on Friday, so we’ll go down to Mallard Creek, make a day of it, and get another victory.”
#4 Page improves to (11-1) with the victory and will travel to Mallard Creek to take on the #1 Mavericks in the Third Round of the NCHSAA 4-AA playoffs on Friday night.
(Pa) Cody King 4 run (Thomas Murray kick)
(Pa) Naseem Alston 90 pass from Javondre Paige (Murray kick)
(Pa) Jacobe Spencer 25 blocked punt return (Murray kick)
(Pr) FG Bryce Porzenski 33
(Pa) Paige 36 run (kick failed)
(Pa) Sincere Davis 18 run (Murray kick)
(Pa) Alston 30 pass from Paige (Murray kick)
(Pr) Julian Boddie 1 run (kick failed)
(Pr) Matt Smith 7 pass from Jack Cherry (Porzenski kick)
Javondre Paige: (15-22) 262yds, 2 TD; 9 car 106yds, TD
Naseem Alston: 7 rec 203yds, 2 TD
Cody King: 3 car 28yds, TD
Sincere Davis: 2 car 25yds, TD; 1 rec 12yds