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One whale of a high school football game

By Walter Geiger The Pike County Pirates and the Lamar County Trojans laid it all on the line last Friday night at Trojan Field in one of the best high school football games played here in my 32 years on the sidelines. The game had it all. There was a huge crowd ‘“ by far the largest in the short history of the new facility. Big gates help build big programs. I was among the last to leave the Field Turf and it still took me about 20 minutes to get to Veterans’ Parkway. It was nice to see a traffic snarl like that after a game. Both teams faced adversity. The Trojans dug themselves an early hole by fumbling deep in their own territory on their first two offensive series. The Pirates capitalized both times and led 14-0 with less than seven minutes played in the game. Lamar got one score back in that first period and then adversity struck the Pirates. Starting quarterback Nate Ferrell went down with an ankle injury and had to be carted off the field. Kody Adams briefly replaced him but Adams ‘“ perhaps the best athlete on the field ‘“ is suffering from a wrist injury and shut down his high school football career after the game to have it surgically repaired. Adams has a great future ahead of him in baseball and hopes to be full strength when the season begins. So, there was drama. Adams couldn’t go so young quarterback Jonathan Norton came in and played extremely well. He drove the Pirates down the field as the first half neared an end. The drive culminated with an Andrew Chau field goal that put Pike up 17-7. Things looked bleak for the Trojans. With the third period near half done, Lamar called a halfback pass and Robert Blount hit Quay Searcy with an 18-yard scoring strike. The Pirates rose up to block the PAT and clung to a 17-13 lead. Not three minutes later, Lamar’s Antoine Wallace blocked a punt deep in Pike territory which Rodnique Brown scooped and scored on. Tyler Scandrett added the PAT and Lamar led 20-17. The last 15 minutes were nail-biting as both offenses threatened and both defenses bent but did not break. As time was running out, young Norton engineered a drive aimed at putting Chau, a superb kicker, in position to send the game to overtime with a field goal. It appeared the poised young man would do just that when Lamar’s Quad Smith snatched an interception to end the threat with just 35 seconds left on the clock. It was a huge play ‘“ a great finish to a great game. It’s cliche, sure, but this was a game that neither team deserved to lose. Lamar and Pike have spent most of their long football histories struggling to be relevant. There have been flashes of promise here and there but nothing sustainable. Coaches Mac MacMillan at Pike and Jason Strickland at Lamar are changing all that. These teams will be forces to be reckoned with. Both have a bevy of young talent, are wellcoached, superbly conditioned and have the will to win. They will do big things. They are deserving of your support.

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