Big half boosts Briarfield over PCA

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 1, 2001

[9/29/01]A couple of big plays in the first half had Porters Chapel Academy flying high Friday night. A couple more in the second half brought them crashing back to earth.

PCA (2-3, 0-2 Conference 7-A) led 15-14 at halftime, but Briarfield’s Ryal Stone returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and a fumble on PCA’s next play from scrimmage set up another Rebel scoring drive. Briarfield (3-2, 1-0) went on to score 28 unanswered points in the second half and win 42-15.

“After they ran that kickoff back, I guess we quit,” PCA defensive lineman Michael Guynes said. “We had control of the first half. We just gave up, that’s all.”

Eric Spiller rushed for 125 yards and set up three Briarfield touchdowns with runs to the PCA 1-yard line. Rebel quarterback Pete Lensing rushed for three touchdowns, while Blake Pierce rushed for 120 yards and two scores.

For PCA, T.J. Smith rushed for 103 yards on only eight carries, while Andrew Embry was 7-for-16 passing for 103 yards. Smith gained 57 of his yards on a bruising touchdown run on the last play of the first quarter, breaking three tackles on a run up the middle and then out-sprinting the defense for the last 45 yards.

It was Embry’s legs that sparked the Eagles in the first half, however. Two passes put PCA at the Briarfield 11 late in the second quarter. On second down, Embry was sacked and tried to throw the ball, but was spun around as he threw and ended up passing backward all the way to the PCA 48, where fullback Josh Rush fell on the ball.

On the next play, third-and-46, Embry ran a quarterback draw. He broke two tackles and went up the right sideline, all the way back to the Rebel 1 for a first down. He scored on a quarterback sneak on the next play and Aaron Curry added the extra point to give PCA a 15-14 lead with 1:40 to play.

“I didn’t expect a touchdown, but I did expect a big gain,” PCA coach Bubba Mims said of the long gain.

The Eagles carried the lead into halftime, but Stone broke the second-half kickoff up the middle to give Briarfield the lead back. Pierce ran in the two-point conversion to make it 22-14.

“The guys did a great job blocking and there was a hole there,” Stone said.

On PCA’s next play, Smith broke a 31-yard run to the Rebel 44 but fumbled at the end of the run. Briarfield recovered and drove down the field, scoring on a 1-yard run by Lensing eight plays later.

“I think that was a big blow. Especially after getting the long run, we’re thinking we can come back and score again,” Mims said of the fumble. “It was tough after that, especially with the way they used the clock in the fourth quarter.”

Down by two touchdowns midway through the third quarter, PCA began throwing the ball and couldn’t sustain any momentum. The Eagles got several first downs, but never advanced past the Briarfield 46.

Spiller, meanwhile, set up the game-clinching touchdown with a 43-yard run to the PCA 1 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the game, and a PCA fumble on the ensuing kickoff set up Lensing’s third TD, a 6-yard run with 4:13 to play.

“We made mistakes, and the second half we came out and corrected those,” Stone said. “It’s a real good game. 1-0 in district, that’s a dang good game.”