The Pine Creek football team had two offensive objectives heading into its biggest local rivalry game against Palmer Ridge.
Run the ball. Stay aggressive.
And the Eagles did.
The Pine Creek ground game, led by David Moore III with four rushing touchdowns, ran over Palmer Ridge in a 49-28 win Saturday.
Moore started his day with a pair of first-down runs before a 75-yard rush on the Eagles’ second possession, followed by a 15 and a 10 before the end of the half. Moore later had a 34-yard run late in the second half.
“All week we have been practicing the same three formations and we were just pounding and pounding and pounding and it worked out for us,” Moore said. “But all the credit goes to our offensive line. My first touchdown I had linemen running down with me so they were just giving great effort all game.”
Pine Creek’s Zachary Barnes also had a short touchdown run, and Eagle quarterback Gavin Herberg tossed up a 25-yard touchdown pass to Braden Kramer to open the scoring in the first quarter.
Palmer Ridge had two forced turnovers, each deep in its own territory, one interception inside the 10 by Kieran Fry, and an end zone interception by Marcellus Reed. Fry also had a fourth-down tackle inside the 5 in the third quarter.
“Those are three touchdowns that we would like to have had,” Miller said. “But we were taking shots, taking chances and trying to be aggressive and I think that’s the biggest thing. We’re not going to play to just win. We are going to play the game and stay aggressive.”
The Bears struggled to move the ball in the first half with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Luke McAllister to running back Raef Ruel proving to be the longest Palmer Ridge drive of the half.
“We know they are very good up front and we know running the ball can be very difficult against a team like Pine Creek,” Palmer Ridge coach Tom Pulford said. “But I thought our offensive line did a great job and Raef did a great job when he was in getting some extra yards after contact, but the hard part is that first contact happens so quickly.”
But the second half was a different game for Palmer Ridge as it welcomed back its top cornerback/receiver Deuce Roberson, who did not play in the first half.
His defensive impact was almost immediate in helping to keep Pine Creek off the board in its first two possessions of the half.
Roberson’s first reception of the game set up a 35-yard touchdown pass from McAllister to Kaden Dudley. Two more long passes to Roberson in the second half set up short Palmer Ridge touchdown runs, but their newfound fortitude was too little, too late.
‘It was a really big difference to have (Deuce) back, and it showed on the scoreboard,” McAllister said. “He’s a playmaker on offense and defense and we’re looking forward to him playing the whole game next week.”
McAllister said he learned a lot about being aware of his surroundings from playing against a defensive line like Pine Creek, and Pulford expects to learn more upon film review.
“I’m proud of the resiliency in our kids and the way that they fought,” Pulford said. “Iron sharpens iron, so if we go against a high-caliber football team we know we are going to come out better for it.”
Wisconsin commit Max Lofy had a first-half interception at midfield in which he leaped over a Palmer Ridge receiver to set up Moore’s third touchdown of the day.