After dominating the first quarter, Triton’s varsity football team held off visiting All American 3-A/4-A Conference opponent Pine Forest’s second-half rally to win, 34-20, on Friday night.
“Going into halftime with that big lead, that was huge,” said Triton offensive coordinator David Weathersby. “That’s a great football team over there. Luckily, we’ve got some pretty good football players, and we just stuck it out and I’m proud of these guys. We had some adversity coming into today and we stepped up. The staff stepped up and the team stepped up.”
Weathersby took over head coaching duties for Ben Penny, who was absent from Friday’s game due to a family emergency.
Triton (6-2, 4-1 AAC) was led by its trio of senior running backs. J.J. Cowan ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, Camauri McDougald ran for 148 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and A.J. Dewar ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
“When you’ve got 5 (Cowan), 3 (McDougald) and 6 (Dewar) on your side, it’s hard to beat,” Weathersby said. “When those three get over the century mark (100 yards), we better win. Those guys are hard to stop.”
Weathersby said that sophomore quarterback Alan Hinson extending drives multiple times by drawing Pine Forest’s defense offside with his snap count was also a key factor in the win.
“He managed the game,” Weathersby said. “That snap count is huge. Them jumping offsides and letting us run time off the clock, that was a big part of our victory.”
Weathersby was also pleased with the play of Triton’s defense.
“I can’t be prouder of our defense,” Weathersby. “Especially our defensive line and our secondary. When we knew they were going to be passing, our secondary has been struggling all year and they stepped up big time.”
Senior Nyzir Bostick completed 6-of-17 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, with one interception, and junior Jamari Jones ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries to lead the Trojans (4-4, 4-1).
Triton’s first two offensive plays from scrimmage both went for touchdowns. Cowan scored on a 69-yard run and McDougald scored on a 60-yard run. Christian Siliezar made both extra point attempts.
The Hawks added two more scores in the quarter on a one-yard Cowan run and a three-yard Dewar run. Siliezar made both extra point attempts.
The Trojans got on the board late in the first quarter on a seven-yard Jones run, with Juan Hernandez making the extra point.
Triton scored again late in the second quarter on a 13-yard Dewar run, but the extra point attempt was no good, and the Hawks led 34-7 at halftime.
Pine Forest scored on the opening drive of the second half on a one-yard Jones run, with Hernandez adding the extra point.
Late in the third, the Trojans scored again on a 20-yard pass from Bostick to Fredrick Logan, but the extra point missed.
The Trojans had an opportunity to score again early in the fourth quarter, but the Hawks held them to a turnover on downs in the red zone.
Triton’s offense followed by going on a drive that took nearly nine minutes off of the clock, leaving Pine Forest with less than a minute to try to score twice. But the game ended with pressure from Jamal Shaw creating an errant throw that was intercepted by K.J. Lockamy.
Heading into the final two games of the season, Triton is in a four-way tie atop the conference standings with Pine Forest, Overhills (4-4, 4-1) and Harnett Central (4-4, 4-1). The Hawks travel to Overhills on Friday before returning home to host Central for Senior Night on Oct. 27. Pine Forest travels to Central on Friday before hosting Overhills for Senior Night on Oct. 27.
“We’re taking one game at a time,” Weathersby said. “This one was huge. The next one’s even bigger. And hopefully, if we take care of the next one, that Harnett Central game is going to be huge, as well. We’ve got to take care of Overhills now. We’re going to celebrate a little bit tonight and Saturday and get back to work on Monday.”