The Pinewood Prep Football team faces a program it’s very familiar with for its 2020 home opener.
The Panthers are scheduled to host Porter-Gaud at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18. Both teams enter with a 0-2 record so coaches are expecting a competitive game.
“Porter-Gaud is a rival so we don’t ever take them lightly,” Pinewood coach J.W. Myers said. “They are always well-coached and prepared, but I’m confident in what we can do with this group we have. We didn’t play them last year so we are excited about seeing them this season.”
The Cyclones are coming off a 28-0 loss to Laurence Manning. Porter-Guard threw three interceptions during the game and had trouble containing the Laurence Manning rushing game.
Pinewood is coming off a 42-14 loss to Wilson Hall. The Barons jumped out to a 21-0 lead early to put a lot of pressure on the Panthers. Pinewood made it a two-score game with a Shane DaRe touchdown plunge, but Wilson Hall then began to pull away for good.
The Panthers had a much tighter contest against at Trinity Byrnes Collegiate the week before. Last season the Titans handled the Panthers to a score of 56-22 on their way to a 2A State Championship. Under a new head coach, Pinewood took a 21-18 lead in the first half Sept. 4 before falling 39-32 to Trinity.
The Titans struck first, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. The Panthers were able to respond later in the first quarter with a 5-yard touchdown pass from junior T.J. Hatchett to freshman running back T.J. Wright.
The Panthers’ offense was able to score two more touchdowns before the half. The first was a 1-yard TD pass from Hatchett to senior receiver Addison Venittelli. The second scoring drive was capped by a 30-yard TD run from Wright.
The Titans held the Panthers to a Field Goal by DaRe in the third quarter and took the lead going into the fourth quarter.
A rushing touchdown from DaRe cut the lead to 7 with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Then the Panthers’ defense was able to make a tackle for loss and force a turnover on downs.
The Panthers’ offense took over on the 40-yard line with two minutes remaining in the game. Pinewood drove down to the 5, but couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone.
“We are proud of how the guys fought and competed,” Myers said of the effort by his team in the season opener. “This is a process, this process of learning how to win, and we took a step in the right direction tonight.”
Hatchett finished the game with a career high 352 passing yards. He completed 30-of-60 pass attempts to eight different receivers. Wright carried four times for 46 rushing yards and a TD and made four receptions for 76 yards and a TD.
Senior Ben Brown led the Panthers’ receivers with seven catches for 86 yards. Junior Trey Blume had five receptions for 70 yards.