In a game which both schools had been waiting 20 years for, the Upson-Lee Knights battled against the Pike County Pirates in Zebulon on Friday night.
Looking at the game from a statistical point of view, the Knights dominated the Pirates, accumulating 440 yards of total offense, compared to Pike County’s 275 yards. Corey Moss, finished the game with 212 yards rushing and four rushing touchdowns. Upson-Lee out rushed Pike County 375-214, and out gained the Pirates through the air 65-61. The Knights finished with 23 first downs compared to Pike’s 11, but where it counts in the end, the Pirates held the slimmest of margins, with 40-39 double overtime victory.
The Knights jumped on the board first, with a 30 yard field goal from junior Tyler Stewart. With 11:19 left in the second quarter, Stewart drilled the ball through the uprights, giving UL a 3-0 lead.
On the ensuing kick-off the Pirates answered back with a 97 yard kickoff return for a score. After the Pirate’s PAT, they led the Knights 7-3.
The defenses for both teams played well in the first half, but a lost fumble by the Knights loomed large at the end of the first half. The Pirates recovered the fumble in Knight’s territory, and one played later scored on a 26 yard run, giving the Pirates a 14-3 lead at the half.
In the second half of the game, the Knights Corey Moss scored on the second play in the third quarter. Moss eluded defenders for a 69 yard TD run. Trailing 14-9, the Knights went for two, but the conversion failed.
Later in the third quarter, the Pirates ventured on thier longest drive of the game. The Pirates drove the ball 88 yards on 13 plays, capped off with a three yard TD run by the Pirates quarterback. The Knights blocked the PAT, but trailed 20-9.
To start the fourth quarter, the Knights went three and out, punting the ball back to the Pirates. Two plays later, Pirates running back Artez Oglesby, scored on a 62 yard TD run, his third TD score of the game.
With time running out, and the Knights trailing 26-9, Upson-Lee went on a 10 play 65 yard drive, ending in a record breaking Stewart field goal. Stewart booted the Knights 32 yard field goal, cutting the Pirates lead to 26-12, and setting the school record for most field goals in a career. Stewart’s field goal was the eighth of his career.
With just under seven minutes remaining in the game, and the Pirates pinned deep in their own territory, the Pirates shocked everyone in the stadium, everyone that is except for Upson-Lee’s Toby Fuentes. The Pirates attempted a pass up by two touchdowns and less than seven minutes remaining. Upson-Lee’s Fuentes picked off the pass, and took it 27 yards for a score. Stewart’s PAT was good, and the Knights trailed 26-19 with 6:49 remaining.
The Knights defense stepped up late in the fourth quarter, stopping the Pirates offense and forcing a punt. Taking over on their own 38 yard line, the Knights began to drive down the field.
Freshman running back K.D. Pennyman, who finished with 98 yards rushing on just 13 carries, made some nice runs up the middle of the Pirates defense. The Knights drove 62 yards on seven plays, ending with a Corey Moss one yard TD run. Stewart was again good on his PAT, and the Knights improbable comeback had tied the game at 26-26.
The two teams decided to play overtime, with a tie being an option. Since the game isn’t a region game, the two teams could have decided to end the game in a 26-26 tie, but play continued.
The Pirates took over on the Knights 15 yard line during the first possession of overtime, and on third and long, it was the Pirate’s Jess Devoursney who made an outstanding one handed catch down to the UL two yard line, where the Pirates would punch it in one play later.
With Knights trailing 33-26, it would be the Knights turn from the 15 yard line in overtime. Moss socred on the first play, and the PAT was good, tying the game at 33-33.
In the second overtime period, UL would have the ball first. Again, it was Moss scoring a touchdown on the first play in overtime. The snap on the PAT was botched. Moss, who is the holder looked for a receiver to throw to but found no one. However, Pike was called for defensive holding, giving the Knights another chance at the PAT, this time from the one and a half yard line.
With the ball lying so close to the goal line, the Knights went for two. Moss who had been untouched in his last two carries, was stopped at the line of scrimmage. With the conversion no good, the Knights lead 39-33.
The Pirates took their turn in the second overtime period, and on the first play, quarterback Tyler Gregory faked the hand off to Oglesby and kept the ball for a 15 yard TD run. The Pirates made the PAT, and won the game 40-39.