It has been an up-and-down season for the Porter-Gaud football team, but Cyclones coach Rick Reetz is hoping that Thursday night’s 35-14 win over visiting Laurence Manning is a sign that his team is putting it all together just in time for the SCISA state playoffs.
The Cyclones won their second straight game to improve to 4-5 heading into next week’s regular-season finale at Pinewood Prep. Another victory could secure a home playoff game.
“We have been putting it together pretty well the last two weeks, and our players have a lot of confidence right now,” said Reetz. “We have a pretty prolific offense, have had it all year, but we struggled some defensively early on.
“We’re playing much better on defense now and that gives us a chance to compete with anyone. We knew we would struggle early and we felt we had a chance to finish strong.”
Led by the backfield tandem of quarterback Thomas Rogers and running back Trey Pierce, the Cyclones rolled up more than 400 yards. Rogers rushed for 174 yards and completed 9 of 14 passes for 120 yards, while Pierce rushed for 110 yards. Each scored two touchdowns.
“Two great senior players and even better leaders,” said Reetz. “It’s fitting they had this type of night in their last home game.”
Porter-Gaud’s defense also was up to the task. After allowing an early score, the Cyclones intercepted three passes, returning one for a score, and pitched a second-half shutout.
Things looked bleak for the Cyclones early as Laurence Manning running back Tyshawn Epps scored on a 58-yard run barely three minutes into the game.
Rogers tied the game with 11:51 to play in the second on a 17-yard run, then, on Laurence Manning’s next offensive play, Porter-Gaud defensive back Brock Richardson stepped in front of a J.T. Eppley pass and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Epps raced 91 yards with the return, down to the Porter-Gaud four to set up Drake Hudson’s one-yard run with 10:45 left in the half.
Late in the half, Porter-Gaud put together a five-play, 66-yard drive with Pierce scoring on a 21-yard run gallop up the middle, giving the Cyclones a 21-14 halftime lead.
Porter-Gaud fumbled on its first possession of the second half and Laurence Manning drove down inside the Cyclones’ 5-yard line. Porter-Gaud, however, held defensively and Thomas Scarborough blocked a 26-yard field attempt with 5:13 remaining in the third.
With the ball at their own eight, the Cyclones went 92 yards on nine plays with Pierce capping the drive on a one-yard run.
Rogers capped the scoring with a 36-yard run with 3:59 left in the contest.
LM — Tyshawn Epps 58 run (Austin Stout kick)
PG — Thomas Rogers 17 run (Trey Low kick)
PG — Brock Richardson 33 INT return (Low kick)
LM — Drake Hudson 1 run (Stout kick)
PG — Trey Pierce 21 run (Low kick)
PG — Pierce 1 run (Low kick)
PG — Rogers 36 run (Low kick)