In a game bookended by dueling pick-sixes, the host Patton JV football team outlasted county rival Draughn in a Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference matchup late Thursday, 22-20.
With 3 minutes left in the game, Zayden Pritchard picked off a Patton pass and returned it 68 yards for the score. Holden Curry’s two-point conversion throw from John Abernathy brought the JV Wildcats (0-5, 0-3 NWFAC) within two.
But the JV Panthers (2-3, 1-1 NWFAC) covered up the onside kick and milked the remainder of the clock after Trevor Smith converted on a third-and-1 run.
Hunter Johnson started off the game with a pick-six of his own, taking an errant Draughn throw 40 yards the other way to halt the game’s first drive and put the hosts up for good, 8-0, after Smith’s first of two conversion runs.
Draughn pulled within two for the first time later in the quarter when Elijah Pritchard caught an 80-yard TD pass from John Abernathy. But Jerry Sarath’s 43-yard score in the second frame and Johnson’s 9-yard TD in the third gave Patton back its breathing room.
Zayden Pritchard’s 12-yard TD pass from Abernathy in the early fourth gave Draughn life before his interception return later in the period.
Sarath (8-54) and Smith (13-53) led Patton on the ground, and Waylon Rutherford caught two passes for 35 yards from Johnson. Abernathy went 4 of 8 for 107 yards and Elijah Pritchard finished with two catches for 91 yards.
For the Patton defense, Sarath forced and recovered a fumble, Rutherford had an interception and Colten Dale had a sack and additional tackle for loss. Other stops in the backfield came from Smith, Anthony Feaster-Hicks, Nathan Hamilton and Dawson Carswell (PBU).
For Draughn, Will Price (six tackles) forced a fumble, Shytrail Gaither (sack) recovered it and Thomas Lambert tallied two sacks.
Hickory 28, Freedom 20
The JV Patriots (3-2, 1-1 Northwestern 3A/4A Conf.) fell Thurday at home. Freedom got a touchdown each from Demarcus Lawrence, Avery Pollard and BG Hampton, with Pollard adding the team’s lone two-point conversion. Eli Thomas and Zach Pinkerton helped lead the Patriots on defense.
W. Iredell 47, EB 0
The JV Cavaliers (0-5, 0-2 NWFAC) were shut out on Thursday at home. No more details were available.
Draughn 3, Freedom 0
The Lady Wildcats (12-7, 5-5 NWFAC) claimed Thursday’s nonconference, in-county contest in Valdese over the Lady Patriots (3-11, 2-6 NWC), 25-6, 25-21, 25-16. No more details were available.
Justin Epley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-432-8943.