Eagles edge Kinston, 14-13

Published 12:45 am Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pleasant Home’s Gabe Gunter rushes for yardage Friday night. Gunter rushed for 70 yards on 20 carries. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Pleasant Home’s defense caught three interceptions, and ran one back for a touchdown to beat Kinston 14-13 Friday night at home.

The Eagles scooted past the Bulldogs of Kinston, who managed to draw first blood with a touchdown late in the first quarter on a 1-yard rush.

However, Pleasant Home executed a 10-play, 40-yard drive for a touchdown in 4 minutes, 25 seconds to tie the game at 7-7 at the end of the first half.

This was the game-changer for the Eagles, PHS head football coach Ronnie Douglas said.

“That was a big deal,” Douglas said. “We went in our two-minute deal. The kids worked on it. That’s still a big part of our package. The kids know how to execute it.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to Kinston,” he said. “They’re tough kids. They’re coached well.”

Starting on their own 46-yard line, the Eagles rushed the ball with the help of leading rusher and quarterback Gabe Gunter, senior Hunter Weaver and junior tail back Hunter Greathouse.

The 4:25 drive went a little something like this.

They drove the ball down to the 21-yard line, where Gunter connected with Weaver for a 19-yard pass to put the ball within the 2-yard line.

Gunter punched the ball in for the score and Kaleb Powell kicked the extra point.

Then, the Eagles defense held on late in the second half for the win.

Pleasant Home improves to 2-1 overall, and 2-0 in Class 1A, Region 2. The Eagles will travel to play Florala next Friday night in region action.

The interception return for a touchdown came early in the third quarter for Pleasant Home.

Sophomore Austin Herrington read the pass route right, and caught the game-winning go-ahead interception return for the 46-yard score.

From there, Pleasant Home’s defense held Kinston’s running-attack offense for the rest of the game.

“It was a good clean game,” Douglas said. “The kids played hard. I’m very proud of our kids. Kinston gave a great effort. That game could’ve gone either way.”

When it mattered the most, the extra points were the deciding factor in the outcome.

Kinston started its second offensive possession of the fourth quarter from the 22-yard line and scored from there on a pass.

The Bulldogs needed the extra point to tie the game up for a second time, but missed.

“That was the difference of the ball game,” Douglas said about the missed extra point. “Kaleb does a good job for us. He’s come up for us quite a lot.”

Gunter led Pleasant Home in rushing carrying the ball 20 times for 70 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles had 138 total yards in rushing and 32 yards in passing.

Kinston had 99 total yards for rushing and 22 total yards in passing.

Earlier in the game, Pleasant Home senior Jeffery Slaughter made a one-handed grab with more than 10 minutes in the second quarter for 12 yards from Gunter.

Douglas said he appreciated the fan-base that came out Friday night.

“I’m real proud of our kids,” he said. “I’m proud of our fans. We had a packed house tonight. I knew it was going to be tough.

“Coming off of a big victory like McKenzie, you’ve got to be careful,” he said. “We worked them hard. They played hard all night.”