NEW HOPE — New Hope kicker Travis Bennett kicked the game-winning extra point with 17.5 seconds left to lift the Indians past Pisgah 33-32 at home Friday night and give his team its first 3-0 start since 1989.
Only two passes were attempted on the night and there was only one punt as both teams used strong running games to make it a wild affair.
The win improves New Hope to 1-0 in Class 3A, Region play, while the Eagles fall to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the region.
“They just made one more play than we did,” said Pisgah head coach Luke Pruitt. “We didn’t make adjustments, and that’s on me.”
The loss spoiled a great effort by senior Nate Cornelison, who gained 306 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns.
The Indians controlled the clock, running 63 times and gaining 357 yards. However, despite running only 31 plays on the night, big plays kept the Eagles alive.
“When you score more than 30 points, you are supposed to win,” said Pruitt.
Pisgah jumped ahead early, building a 12-0 lead after its first two possessions. The Eagles opened the game, marching 85 yards in 12 plays, behind a strong effort by sophomore fullback Rhyan Barrett. Barrett gained 37 yards in the drive and capped it with a 12-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Parker Law highlighted the drive with a 35-yard run.
The Eagles scored quickly again, as Cornelison raced 96 yards for a touchdown.
New Hope cut the lead after Duvine Beebe capped an 86-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown run. Bennett’s kick cut it to 12-7.
Pisgah came right back when Cornelison took the ensuing kickoff and raced 88 yards for the touchdown. A try for two left it 18-7 with 8:55 let in the half.
New Hope cut the lead to one point before halftime. Zach Blackwood scored on a 35-yard run and later Bennett nailed a 35-yard field goal to put it 18-17 at halftime.
New Hope took its first lead in the third quarter. After driving to the Pisgah four-yard line, Bennett made a 20-yard field goal to make it 20-18.
At this point, it became obvious the last team with the ball was going to win. Pisgah marched 87 yards in eight plays. Law scampered 35 yards on the option, and then Cornelison capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run. Barrett ran for two points to put Pisgah ahead 26-20 with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
Three touchdowns came in the final quarter. New Hope tied it at 26-26 when quarterback Dylan Selvage scored on a 1-yard run.
Pisgah regained the lead, one drive later, going 76 yards. Cornelison capped it with his fourth touchdown on a nine-yard run. The PAT, however, failed, leaving the Eagles ahead 32-26 with 4:05 remaining.
The Indians responded, driving 65 yards, as Selvage capped it with a 1-yard touchdown run. Bennett’s PAT sealed the win.
Cornelison finished with 165 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 10 carries. He also scored on the 88-yard kickoff return. Barrett gained 88 yards on 13 carries, while Law finished with 69 yards on six carries.
The Eagles finished with 321 yards rushing on 30 attempts.
Charlie Furlough led New Hope with 92 yards rushing on 22 carries, while Blackwood had 90 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, Beebe gained 81 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and Selvage finished with 72 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.