Eagles battle back, beat Georgiana

Published 12:25 am Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pleasant Home rallied from a 13-0 deficit to beat Georgiana 44-33 last night at GHS. | Jeffrey Moore Jr./Star-News

For the second week in a row, the Pleasant Home Eagles had their hands full trying to defend an athletic mobile quarterback.

Flomaton’s Rhyeem Dixon got the best of the Eagles’ defense last week, and Georgiana’s Jacquez Payton did his best to duplicate that result on Friday night.

Pleasant Home found themselves in a 13-0 hole to start the game, but running backs Cameron Hill, John Newby and Jon Cole Chesser combined for an impressive 456 yards on the ground and six rushing touchdowns to help the Eagles come back and beat the Panthers, 44-33.

While PHS head coach Cody McCain was pleased with the win, he was also disappointed in the Eagles’ inability to contain a running threat at the quarterback position.

“To be 100 percent honest, we’re not very good at defense,” McCain said. “Either we’ve got to get better on defense or we won’t win many more games. It’s one of those things that is rearing its head every week, and we’ve got to get it corrected.”

After giving up two early touchdowns to the Panthers, Pleasant Home was desperate for a big play that would get them back into the game.

That’s when Hill, who showed no signs of the arm injury that kept him off the field for the entire second half last week against Flomaton, broke off a 55-yard touchdown run to give the demoralized Eagles, and their fans, a shot in the arm.

After a successful 2-point conversion, Pleasant Home had cut the lead to 13-8 with 10:34 left in the second quarter.

Five minutes later, Georgiana answered with a score of their own to re-extend their lead to 21-8 with 4:54 remaining in the half.

But the Eagles weren’t going away quietly.

After a clutch fourth-down conversion from Chesser, Newby took it in from four yards out, and with the help of Chesser’s successful two-point conversion, made the score 21-16 to wind down the half.

Whatever McCain told his team at halftime must have worked, because a newly inspired Eagle squad took the field to open the second half, and they never looked back.

After a big stop by the Pleasant Home defense to deny the Panthers a fourth down conversion, the offense began to establish their ground game with an impressive first drive of the second half.

Solid runs from the aforementioned trio of backs set up Chesser with a seven-play drive capping touchdown run from 45 yards away.

Another well-executed 2-point play gave the Eagles a short-lived 24-21 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Two minutes later, Payton used his athleticism to regain the Panthers’ lead, taking a quarterback-keeper to the house from 39 yards out to give his team a three-point lead, 27-24.

Two plays later, Hill gave his Eagles a lead which they would not relinquish, pulling away from defenders on his way to a 54-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 30-27, PHS.

After forcing a Panthers’ punt, Newby, not to be outdone by Hill, chipped in a long score of his own, racing 59 yards to pay dirt to extend the Eagles’ lead to 38-27 at the 6-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

Payton did his best to make the last few minutes of the game interesting by adding another long score on the ground, but Hill shut the door on the Panthers for good with 1:29 left in the game.

He made several defenders miss on his way to his third score of the night, this time coming from 46 yards away to ice the game for the Eagles.

Hill finished the night with 203 yards rushing and three scores.

Newby ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and Chesser chipped in for 121 yards and one score.

Pleasant Home travels to Hartford next week to face off in another region game against Geneva County.