Seven sacks, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles by the Page defense was the difference-maker in the Pirates 26-6 victory over the Northwest Guilford Vikings at Marion Kirby Stadium on Monday night.
The Pirates defense came on strong by forcing the Vikings to three-and-out on their opening drive, setting the tone for a long night for the Northwest offense, especially quarterback Johnny Pagano.
The Vikings’ defense answered, however, when Dontrey King intercepted Page quarterback Javondre Paige with the Pirates threatening to score on the Viking eight yard line.
In the final two minutes of the first quarter, the offenses came to life.
Page opened the scoring with a 10 yard touchdown pass from Paige to Ford Moser with 2:28 remaining in the first.
Northwest once again answered, this time on offense, when they scored their only touchdown of the game on a 78-yard pass from Pagano to Brandon Thomas with 1:14 left in the first quarter.
The score was tied at 6 at quarter’s end.
In the second, the vaunted Pirate defense intercepted Pagano twice, hurried him on additional plays, and stopped a 10-play drive with Northwest threatening to score.
Meanwhile, the Viking defense was doing its job by keeping Page off the scoreboard.
That changed, however, late in the second quarter when Paige punctuated a 6-play 81 yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run with a minute and 38 seconds before halftime.
The Pirates lead was 13-6 at the half.
The third quarter featured more defense from both teams. First, from the Vikings, when Jacob Scheponik sacked Paige on back-to-back plays and Peter Hennigan sacked him on the next.
The Page defense took over, as they had throughout the first half, and on the Vikings’ opening drive of the second half, Brandon Thomas tipped a ball that was intercepted by Page’s Isaiah Oglesby.
The Pirates once again scored late in the quarter. This time Paige connected with Branson Adams from 10 yards out for the score. The extra point attempt was blocked by the Vikings, and the Pirates led 19-6 with 1:24 remaining in the third quarter.
Page’s Alex Angus ended Northwest’s ensuing drive after he sacked Pagano, then forced Pagano to fumble on the next play, and the Pirates recovered.
The final score of the night came from the Page special teams when Isaiah Oglesby picked up a blocked punt and bolted 22 yards, untouched, to the end zone. The score was 26-6.
It was definitely a defensive showdown, but credit must be given to Northwest quarterback Johnny Pagano, who was the recipient of several crashing hits, but continued to fight. Pagano didn’t give up. With his team trailing by 20, Pagano broke tackles and made it to the end zone late in the fourth quarter, only to have his touchdown called back due to a holding penalty on the Vikings.
Pagano’s effort was noticed and praised by his head coach, Kevin Wallace.
“He’s a competitor, there’s no doubt about it,” Wallace said of Pagano. “He’s always been a competitor. That’s one thing I’ve known about him for the last two years. He works his butt off, fight and compete. Now we just have to match that as a team.”
The Northwest defense was led by Jacob Scheponik who had those two sacks and was hurrying Paige all night.
Wallace wants his team to look forward and play better up front on the offensive line.
“Turnovers were the difference-maker, and we have to clean some things up on the offensive line,” he said.
“They made plays when they needed to and we couldn’t match those plays. Hopefully we can match them on Friday when we have a quick turnaround with Ragsdale.”
Page linebacker Isaiah Oglesby credited his teammates with his interception and his special teams touchdown.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Oglesby said of the plays. “I can’t take credit for the play because my teammates were making it happen and I was just the one who benefited from them,”
Page quarterback Javondre Paige felt that the team bonding made the difference in the win.
“I think we prepared really well this week,” Paige said. “Coming off the Hurricane and the off-days, we gelled together as a team.”
Page head coach Jared Rolfes was happy with the result and the effort from his team.
“I thought we did some really good things,” Rolfes said. “I thought we were productive on offense.”
“Our defense is where a good bit of our star-studded guys are and they do a great job. Coach (Lee) Meekins does a great job with them. They played well, they played with a lot of heart and grit.”
Although Rolfes said that playing against the team he coached prior to coming to Page wasn’t a big deal to him, he said the win was what he wanted.
“That was a big conference win for us,” he said. “Moving forward we have to get better. We have High Point Central this week, Grimsley next week, and we finish with Ragsdale so it’s pretty important for us to find ways to get better and finish drives.”
The Pirates improve to (3-5) overall with the victory and are (1-0) in Metro 4-A Conference play after the win. Page faces off with High Point Central on Friday night.
Northwest drops below .500 to (4-5) after the loss and are now (1-1) in the Metro 4-A.
(P) Ford Moser 10 pass from Javondre Paige (pass failed)
(NWG) Brandon Thomas 78 pass from Johnny Pagano (kick failed)
(P) Paige 10 run (Matt Chmil kick)
(P) Branson Adams 10 pass from Paige (kick failed)
(P) Isaiah Oglesby 22 punt block (Chmil kick)
Javondre Paige: (16-28) 138yds, 2TD, INT; 15 rush 92yds, TD
Ford Moser: 3rec 30yds, TD
Branson Adams: 8 rush 67yds; 3 rec 11yds, TD
Isaiah Oglesby: Punt block TD, INT
Johnny Pagano: (14-29) 236yds, TD, 3INT