________________________________________________________________________By HARRISON HAMLET
(STUART, Va.) – Elation came early, resilience late, but ultimately disappointment was heavy over the heads of Patrick County’s football team after a 13-12 loss to Floyd County on Friday night.
One week after a dominating second half and win over Carroll County, when Patrick County head coach David Morrison said his team played to their full potential, the Cougars “lost a little bit of focus,” according to Morrison.
“We did not play to our potential in any aspect of the game,” Morrison said. “The boys did show a lot of resolve…we just came up short. We just didn’t have our best game.”
Patrick County opened Friday’s contest against Floyd County by forcing two consecutive turnovers defensively, sandwiching those big plays around a long drive offensively that saw the Cougars take a 6-0 lead.
Will Sprowl, Dae’Shawn Penn, Carson Merriman, and Jonny Crowell all made strong contributions to the Patrick County running game against Floyd County, proving that their success on the ground in Week One, and the play of their offensive line, was no fluke.
Penn led the way with over 150 yards rushing for the second straight week as the Cougars gained over 280 yards as a team on the ground.
“You cannot have confidence if you do not work, that’s the bottom line,” Morrison said. “Our boys have been working hard and it shows in our attitude and our effort and in our expectation.”
However, the Buffaloes found their footing just before halftime, marching down the field to take a 7-6 lead into the break. That late score left the Cougars “a little bit stunned” during halftime, Morrison said.
“We had some penalties on some big plays and we had an error in assignment that cost us a touchdown,” just before halftime, Morrison said. “Against a team like Floyd…you cannot have those breakdowns and overcome that. They are a fantastic team. They have been an excellent program for a long time.”
Patrick County was able to bounce back and take the lead on a bizarre series. Penn broke a long run for a score, only for a penalty to have it called back. Then, Sprowl rebounded and found Chris Drewery on a rare pass play for a touchdown that was not subject to any fouls, giving the Cougars a 12-7 lead.
“I was really proud to see we responded to adversity the way we did,” Morrison said of the scoring drive to re-take the lead in the third quarter.
In the final frame, Floyd County scored on a pass of their own, leaving the Cougars trailing 13-12 with about eight minutes to play.
Patrick County marched into scoring position in the final minutes, only to have the late drive stall inside the Floyd County 20-yard-line. A desperation fourth down pass fell to the ground and Floyd County took over on downs, sealing the win with one more first down.
“We still thought we had a chance coming back down the field. We drove it really well down the field and just kind of stalled out there at the end,” Morrison said. “We’re closer than people understand. Part of this is we really have to start believing that and focus on the task at hand.”
With just six seniors on the team, Morrison said that youth played a factor late in Friday’s loss.
“They’ve never been in this position. It’s tough to put a 10th grade kid out there and say ‘Hey man, it’s time to finish this ball game.’” Morrison said. “These boys are mature beyond their years and I think, moving forward, we’re going to see a bunch of good Patrick County football.”
Patrick County (1-1) will travel to Christiansburg (2-0) on September 13 where they will face a Blue Demons team that handed Floyd County (1-1) a 35-16 loss in Week One.
“They have a very well-coached defense,” Morrison said of Christiansburg. “They do not get out of position. They wrap up and they tackle and we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
FCHS – 0 7 0 6 – 13
PCHS – 6 0 6 0 – 12
5:37 – PCHS – Will Sprowl 4 rush (PAT miss)
0:07 – FCHS – Tyler Fenton 15 pass from Avery Chaffin (Mason Keith PAT good)
1:48 – PCHS – Chris Drewery 27 pass from Will Sprowl (2pt failed)
7:27 – FCHS – Braden Chaffin11 pass from Avery Chaffin (2pt failed)
Floyd County High School
Braden Chaffin 17/75; Reece Conner 1/5; Avery Chaffin 7/4; Mason Keith 3/0; Jared Nichols 1/0; Tyler Fenton 1/-4.
Avery Chaffin 7/10 for 88, 2TD; Jared Nichols 1/1 for 4.
Tyler Fenton 3/33, TD; Jaden Brewer 2/25; Logan Howell 1/13; Braden Chaffin 1/11, TD; Matthew Cockram 1/10.
Patrick County High School
Dae’Shawn Penn 13/181; Carson Merriman 20/77; Will Sprowl 6/13, TD; Jonny Crowell 2/17.
Will Sprowl 2/6 for 56, TD.
Bryson Fulcher 1/29; Chris Drewery 1/27, TD.