Pisgah’s high-scoring offense has been getting all the attention of late, but it was its defense that stepped to the forefront Friday night.
The Eagles held Ider scoreless until late in the fourth quarter and limited the Hornets to only 128 total yards during a 28-6 Class 2A Region 7 win at Pisgah’s Sam Kenimer Stadium.
Pisgah (4-3, 3-1), which entered the game as the third-highest scoring team in Class 2A at 43.6 points per game, produced its second-lowest point total of the season during Friday’s win. But the Eagles’ didn’t have to keep the scoreboard busy thanks to their best defensive performance of the year.
“Proud of our kids. They’ve been trying to do what we’ve asked of them all year. Told the kids we needed to get stops early and get out in front of (Ider). Hats off to our kids for doing that,” said Pisgah head coach Luke Pruitt. “Our kids really created some negative plays for (Ider) that put them behind the sticks and had some big plays on fourth down.”
Ider (5-3, 2-2) forced Pisgah to turn it over on downs in Ider territory to start the game. But the Eagles grabbed a 16-0 lead in the first quarter on freshman Legion McCrary’s 20-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion and Mason Holcomb’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Grant Smith and another McCrary two-point conversion.
Pisgah’s defense then stopped the Hornets twice on fourth-and-short late in the second quarter to preserve its lead.
“In those situations, we’ve got to do what it takes to get stops, and our kids did,” Pruitt said. “Those were big.”
After forcing Ider to go three-and-out on its first possession of the second half, Pisgah drove 83 yards on 12 plays (10 rushes and two passes) to push its lead to three scores. Holcomb found Jacob Kirby for a 12-yard pass on a third-and-three to keep the drive moving early, and a 10-yard run by Rhyan Barrett, a 14-yard run by Law and a 24-yard pass from Holcomb to Jake Hendricks led to Barrett’s 5-yard touchdown run that gave Pisgah a 22-0 lead with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
Ider drove deep into Pisgah territory on its next possession, but the threat ended when Law intercepted an Ider pass in the end zone on a fourth-and-12 play from the Pisgah 31-yard line.
Ider avoided the shutout when it turned a Pisgah fumble into its lone score, a 3-yard Matt Norman touchdown run, with 3:37 left in the game. Following a 53-yard run by McCrary, Law scored from 2 yards out to put the Eagles up 28-6 with 2:02 remaining.
“ We stuck one in when we needed to,” Pruitt said. “I’m proud of kids for that.”
McCrary had 162 yards on 16 carries for Pisgah while Law ran for 37 yards on eight carries, Barrett had 17 yards on three carries and Tinker had 16 yards on three carries. Holcomb finished 7-of-10 passing for 151 yards. Hendricks caught two passes for 51 and Kirby caught two for 10 yards while Smith had one catch for 49 yards, Tinker had one for 23 yards and Luke Gilbert had one for 18 yards.
Hunter Robinson finished with 62 rushing yards on 18 carries for Ider while Norman had 61 yards on 15 carries.
The win was the fourth straight for Pisgah, which can clinch a playoff berth with a win next week at Section (4-3, 2-3).
“We’ve gotten a lot of confidence (during the winning streak),” Pruitt said. “We’ve got to keep it up because we’ve got a really big one next week. Section has a some really good weapons. (Section) coach (Chris) Hammon does a really good job. Big playoff implications in that for both of us.”