2-pointer key for Eagles

Published 12:23 am Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Kinston Bulldogs took Pleasant Home down to the wire on Friday night, but the Eagles held them off and came out with a huge 14-12 regional victory at home.

Pleasant Home fumbled the ball away right out of the gate, and Kinston returned it to the Eagle’s six yard line.

But the PHS defense stood their ground, as a fourth-down pass sailed over the head of the intended receiver in the back of the end zone.

Following their big fourth-down stop, Pleasant Home wasted no time putting points on the board.

On the first play of the possession, senior wingback Cameron Hill broke off a 95-yard touchdown run off right end to give the Eagles an early lead. The two-point conversion pass was intercepted, and with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter, PHS led 6-0.

Midway through the second quarter, the Bulldogs answered with a score of their own with an impressive 41-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed, and with 7 minutes left in the half, the score was tied 6-6.

After a Pleasant Home punt followed by a three-and-out by Kinston, the Eagles got the ball back with just a few minutes remaining before half time.

It appeared as if they were going to score to take the lead into the half after a few big runs by Hill and Carl Whitehurst moved the Eagle offense deep into enemy territory.

But they were out of timeouts and the clock expired just before senior quarterback Hunter Odom could hike the ball at the 3-yard line.

Despite Pleasant Home’s best effort to take the lead, they entered half time with a disappointing 6-6 tie.

To open the second half, a combination of yardage-eating runs by Hill, Whitehurst, and sophomore Jon Cole Chesser set up the home team with a first and goal at the one yard line. Whitehurst then lunged across the goal line for the score to give his team the lead.

Senior Hunter Greathouse took it in for the two-point conversion, and with 7:32 remaining in the third quarter, Pleasant Home was up 14-6.

But it didn’t take long for Kinston to answer, as they returned the following kickoff all the way down to the 27-yard line of Pleasant Home to give the Bulldogs great starting field position.

They moved the ball to the 12-yard line, where they faced a crucial fourth down and seven. The quarterback dropped back and fired a strike to the back of the end zone that hit the receiver in the chest, and the Bulldogs found themselves right back in the game. After another missed two-point conversion that would prove to be the difference in the game, Pleasant Home led 14-12 with 5:46 left in the third quarter.

Though neither team would score again, Kinston had their chances to take the lead.

A crucial roughing the passer call on fourth down extended a drive for Pleasant Home, which ate valuable time off of the clock.

Late in the fourth quarter, Pleasant Home’s defense once again played tough and forced Kinston to turn it over on downs, sealing the game for the Eagles.

Pleasant Home head coach Cody McCain was pleased with his team’s performance after the win. “That’s a good (Kinston) team. We’ve played them three years now and those games have all been decided by seven points (total),” he said. “It’s always a war. We’ve just got to keep improving.”

Whitehurst and John Newby paced the Eagles with nine tackles apiece.

Hill led the team in rushing with 181 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Newby carried the ball 11 times for 73 yards and Whitehurst chipped in 74 yards and a touchdown on 15 touches.

Pleasant Home hosts cross-county foe Florala next week in regional action.