Déjà vu: PCHS falls to Straughn 20-19

Published 9:54 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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In a score that was identical to the 2022 contest between the two teams, the Straughn Tigers (1-0, 1-0) picked up a Class 3A, Region 2 win over the No. 9-ranked Pike County Bulldogs (0-1, 0-1) on Friday night.

The two sides slugged it out to a 20-19 Straughn win in 2022, as well. While the score was the same, in this year’s game the two teams battled it out on a soggy, muddy field with a driving wind making things even more difficult down the stretch.

Straughn marched down the field on its first possession of the game but the Bulldog defense stood tall and forced a turnover on downs. After a Pike County punt, Straughn continued to drive down the field as the quarter came to a close with the two sides scoreless.

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Straughn opened the second quarter, however, with a 52-yard touchdown run from quarterback Michael Grantham on a read option. The PAT gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 11:49 left in the first half.

On Pike County’s next possession, quarterback Omari Barrow was intercepted as he was hit. Straughn then added to the lead on a 6-yard scoring run from Charlie Jordan with 8:35 left to put the Tigers up 14-0.

After the two sides exchanged punts, Pike County got the ball back with just two minutes remaining and proceeded to drive down the field on the best possession of the game for the Bulldogs. Receiver Braylin Jackson sparked the drive with 39-yard leaping grab from Barrow deep into Tiger territory.

Unfortunately for the Dawgs, that drive would not produce points, however. As the clock ticked under 50 seconds, Barrow scrambled on a fourth down but was stopped short turning the ball over on downs. Straughn then ran the clock out to take a 14-0 lead into halftime.

After giving up 163 yards in the first half, PCHS gave up just 68 total yards in the second half. Pike County cut the lead to 14-7 in the third quarter on an 11-yard scoring run from Nemo Williams.

In the fourth quarter, Pike County cut the lead to 14-13 when Omari Barrow threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Khalil Foster. The PAT attempt was no good after a low snap tripped things up for the Dawgs.

Straughn then added to its lead with a 14-yard pass with just 6:21 left. The Straughn PAT was also bobbled, however, and the lead remained 20-13.

With just 2:20 left, Barrow threw a 15-yard touchdown to Robert Brogdon. With another chance to tie things up, the PAT sailed wide left with Straughn hanging on to a 20-19 lead. Straughn then managed to run the clock out and secure the region win.

Straughn compiled 231 yards of offense, 192 yards on the ground, while Pike County rolled up 287 yards of offense. Pike County was penalized 12 times for 88 yards and Straughn was penalized 10 times for 100 yards.

Williams led the PCHS offense with 158 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries, while Braylin Jackson led the defense with 11 tackles and one tackle-for-loss. Markelis Hobdy also tallied 10 tackles and one tackle-for-loss. Barrow completed 6-fo-18 passes for 113 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Jackson caught one pass for 39 yard and Ky’ori McKinnon caught three passes for 32 yards. Bubba Williams also recorded five tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, while Que Carter earned seven tackles and a tackle-for-loss.

Grantham led Straughn with 91 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while he also completed 4-of-8 passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. Grant Barnes rushed for 89 yards on 11 carries.

Pike County will look to rebound next week on the road against Ashford in another region game.