Mistakes doom Bison against Pirates
High Point Central coach Wayne Jones didn’t concentrate on the obvious after Greensboro Page rallied to beat the Bison 34-33 on Friday night at Marion Kirby Stadium.
The obvious was that mistakes in the kicking game played a huge role in the Bison’s undoing for the second straight week. First there was a blocked extra point in the first half, but that wouldn’t have been a factor if three Bison putting attempts had not gone awry, helping the Pirates overcome a two-touchdown deficit,
The miscues included a blocked punt that led to Anthony Capel’s 7-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, a mishandling of a snap from center in the end zone that was recovered by the Pirates’ Timothy Wharton for a touchdown that made it 33-28 with 9:12 to play and finally a 9-yard punt to the Central 24 that set up the game-winning 14-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jalen Gavin with 1:29 to play.
After all that, Jones was more focused on Central’s lack of offense in the second half as the Bison managed just five first downs and got their only score after the break on Germaine Pratt’s second long punt return of the night, an 80-yarder that put Central up 33-21 with 5:26 to go in the third quarter.
“We still had opportunities to score and opportunities to stop them,” Jones said. “Kicking is only one part of the game. We have to make sure we score when we have opportunities to score, make first downs when we have opportunities to make first downs and help our defense out a little bit more.”
Central made two first downs on its first possession of the second half (which ended in the blocked punt) and then went three-and-out on its next five, the last of those ending in the short punt that led to Page’s go-ahead touchdown.
The Bison picked up three first downs trying to drive for a game-winning score, but that ended in an interception when the ball was knocked out of Pratt’s hands as he tried to catch it and it was snared out of the air by Page’s Cahill Grant with 22 seconds left.
Jones blamed some of the Bison’s woes on poor field position. All of Central’s second-half possessions started at the Bison 34 or worse with one starting at the 1 and another at the 2. Before the final drive. Central had just 53 yards total offense in the second half.
“When you have poor field position like that, people pin their ears back and come at you,” Jones said. “We’ve got to be able to run the ball with our back against the wall.”
The second half struggles on offense in the second half followed the Bison relying on big plays to score three of their four touchdowns in the first half.
Junior quarterback Jamiel Mack threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Fogge on the Bison’s second play of the game.
After a couple of three-and-outs while Page scored twice, Mack tossed a 69-yard touchdown pass to Tim Gorham to make it 14-12 when the 2-point conversion failed. Pratt returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown to put the Bison up 19-14. The next time the Bison got they ball they put together their only sustained drive, a 67-yarder that almost ended in a touchdown pass from Mack to Chavis Little from the Page 25. But, Little was ruled out just short of the goal line before he went over the corner pylon, and Pratt scored on the next play to make it 26-14.