By HARRISON HAMLET
(DANBURY, N.C.) – Patrick County’s football team went on the road in Week Three and struggled against Christiansburg. In Week Four, they made amends; traveling across the border to take on North Stokes (N.C.) and bringing a 28-14 win home.
“The mood on the bus-ride home was pretty solid, the kids were enjoying the win,” Patrick County head coach David Morrison said. “They broke out the fight song on the way home. It was pretty cool to hear that.”
Once again, it was the Cougars’ rushing attack that impressed, generating over 400 yards in Friday’s win over the Vikings. Dae’Shawn Penn led the charge, generating 284 yards rushing on 28 attempts, including three touchdowns. Carson Merriman (12 rushes for 62 yards and a touchdown) and Will Sprowl (6 rushes for 93 yards) also posted impressive numbers.
Morrison credited his offensive line for creating running lanes, but also pointed to the fact that his men in the trenches have room for improvement.
“The line is playing well and there is still room for growth. We’re opening up holes for our backs and we’re still not perfect,” Morrison said. “You want to be perfect, but, when you’re not perfect and still having success, that’s a really positive thing.”
It wasn’t all roses for Patrick County, as the opening 12 minutes of the game saw the Cougars fall behind. Both Patrick County and North Stokes scored on their opening possessions, but the Vikings claimed a 14-7 lead after a second score in the first quarter.
After that, however, the Cougars’ defense settled in and the offense went to work. Patrick County did not surrender a point in the remainder of the game and tallied a touchdown each quarter, including a monstrous 91-yard, clock-eating, scoring drive in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
“It was back-and-forth there for a bit…but we settled down defensively and we understood we were going to be in the fight all night,” Morrison said. “We knew we could move the ball offensively and we just kept pounding.”
The turning point in the game, in Morrison’s eyes, came in the third quarter.
After their only punt of the game, Patrick County was able to hold North Stokes to a punt and cash in on the ensuing drive, giving the Cougars a 21-14 lead they would add to with the late, long drive.
“Out of halftime we had to punt, our only punt. Then we held their offense, got the ball back and went down and scored. That was the turning point in the game to go up one score,” Morrison said. “We created a turnover after that and things fell into place.”
With Penn, Merriman and Sprowl producing at a high level through each of the Cougars’ first four games, the Three Musketeers are proving to be leaders on the sideline as well as in the statistics.
“All three of those guys are juniors so we look forward to having them back around next year,” Morrison said. “They’re all still growing, still trying to figure out what kind of leader they are. Some are vocal, some are leaders-by-example, but they all work hard. We have a really good mix with those three, especially being the young guys putting in the work.”
Now, Patrick County (2-2) must prepare to host Piedmont District rival Bassett (2-2) in Stuart on Friday night.
“I expect a tough game against Bassett,” Morrison said. “Those guys are really talented, they have a lot of talented players on their team who flat get after it. It’s always tough to see size on film, but you can see their back (Kevon Smith) is really solid, strong, physical and fast. Their linemen can move and defensively they get after it. It should be a tough, physical and entertaining game.”
Patrick County 28, N. Stokes 14
PCHS – 7 7 7 7 – 28
NSHS – 14 0 0 0 – 14