During his halftime speech to the Peabody-Burns High School Warriors football, coach David Pickens challenged his players to take care of their own responsibilities. His team had the slight edge, 30-28, in a tough-fought first half homecoming contest against Centre.
“I just wanted them to stop the mistakes and play like I knew they could,” said Pickens. “I just said do your job and let your teammates do theirs. The rest will fall into place”
His words must have been well received because the PBHS defense held the Cougars scoreless and the offense added 32 points in the final half of the contest for the 62-28 victory. The Friday win gave the team a 4-1 record. Up next for the squad is a trip to Hartford.
Xavier Jabary’s opening kickoff sailed into the end zone and set up Centre at their own 20-yard line. Jabary, Jayden Miller, and Tommy Morris had tackles on the series that was halted by a Christian Gard interception at the Cougars’ 20-yard line.
The first PBHS offensive series had an Austin Savage carry on first down. Hunter Pickens earned a new set of downs with a quarterback keeper to the 3-yard line. On first-and-goal, Braxton Kyle ran for the 3-yard score through the middle of the Centre defense. Pickens clipped the right edge of the end zone for two points on the conversion run. PBHS led 8-0 with 9 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Centre offense started the next drive at the Centre 25. Despite tackles by Miller, Pickens, Gard, Lucas Larsen, Jabary, and Kyle, a pass connected for the 15-yard score. The conversion pass was incomplete, and the PBHS margin was two, 8-6, with 5:50 left in the first.
The PBHS offense sputtered on the next drive. PBHS turned the ball over at the Cougars’ 31.
After three downs that lost a yard, a long pass play coupled with a quarterback keeper put the Cougars on the board with a touchdown with 3:01 on the clock. Centre took the 12-8 lead on the 25-yard touchdown run.
The next scoring drive for PBHS started midfield late in the first quarter and included runs by Savage and Pickens. Pickens ended the drive with a fourth-and-inches push over the goal line for the score. Morris added two points with a catch in the right corner of the end zone. PBHS regained the lead 16-12 with 9:39 left in the second period.
With five minutes left in the half, the Centre offense answered the Warriors’ score with a fourth-down, goal-line push of their own. The Cougars added a conversion pass and led, 20-16.
Kyle touched the ball first on the next series with a kick-off return to the Warriors’ 25-yard line. Savage moved the sticks with a 27-yard first-down run. Pickens moved the ball twice and earned a new set of downs at the Centre 16. Several quarterback runs later, PBHS had a score with a 3-yard Pickens rush through the middle. Savage snagged the P.A.T. conversion pass. The Warriors had the lead again, 24-20, with three minutes left in the second quarter.
The next Centre drive did not last long. Kyle intercepted a pass and PBHS had the ball at the Cougars’ 34-yard line.
Seth Topham had a leaping catch on first down to move the team to the 6-yard line. Morris tacked on six points with a catch in the right corner of the end zone. The conversion pass failed but PBHS had a 10-point lead, 30-20, with less than a minute left in the half.
With 11 seconds left, the Cougars had the last score in the half with a long pass completion. The conversion run was successful. PBHS had the narrow lead, 30-28, at halftime.
One minute into the third quarter, the Warriors scored a touchdown. On second-and-1 at the Cougars’ 34-yard line, Savage bounced to the left side, found the corner, and sprinted to the goal line. The conversion run failed. PBHS led, 36-28.
PBHS defense forced a punt and Warrior offense took over at their own 18. Savage gained 3 yards on first down. Kyle took the second-down call and ran for a first down at the Centre 20. A Pickens run moved the ball to the Cougars’ 9-yard line. A lateral pass to Savage got the offense to the 1-yard line. On second-and-goal, Pickens scored on a right-side sweep. The conversion failed but PBHS led, 42-28, with 5:53 in the third.
PBHS offense had one more score in the quarter. A 66-yard reverse run by Morris made the score, 48-28.
The fourth period included two more Warriors’ scores. The first was an 11-yard Pickens run and a Pickens two-point conversion with 9:47 left in the contest. Savage added the final score in the contest with a 9-yard run through the middle of the Cougar defense. PBHS had the 62-28 lead with 7:13 left in the game.
PBHS defense held for the remainder of the contest with tackles recorded by Topham, Pickens, Miller, Kyle, Brooks Hodges, Kaden Gibson, Clayton Philpott, and Colton Terronez.
Pickens was 7-of-18 for 113 passing yards. He rushed 21 times for 130 yards. Savage caught two passes for 32 yards and rushed 13 times for 120 yards. Kyle caught one pass for 4 yards and rushed six times for 39 yards. Topham caught one pass for 29 yards. Morris caught three passes for 48 yards. Miller had one carry for 8 yards. Hodges had two carries for 2 yards and Gibson had one carry for 14 yards.
Pickens led the defense with seven tackles. Morris recorded six. Miller and Larsen had five each. Jabary and Kyle each earned four and Gard had three. Topham, and Hodges each had two stops and Garret Schroeder and Allen McLaughlin each had one.