By HARRISON HAMLET
(STUART, Va.) – Patrick County’s football team fell down in the second quarter against Piedmont District rival Bassett, but by no means did they fold. The Cougars’ rally in the second half came up short on Homecoming, but Patrick County head coach David Morrison said he was proud of his team after the 25-16 loss.
“A great second-half effort. The effort is there. Sometimes we tend to be a little bit of a slow-starting team, we’ve seen that a couple of times this year. We ease our way back into things,” Morrison said. “I can’t take anything away from Bassett, that is a great team, they played a well-fought game. They had a great game plan and they executed it. Our boys fought hard.
“It’s tough when you see a game played that way that someone has to come up short.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bengals and Cougars traded long touchdown drives with a two-point conversion giving Bassett an 8-7 lead.
Two quick strikes from Bassett, one a single-play drive that saw a swing pass go 69-yards for a score, put Patrick County in a 22-7 halftime hole.
Morrison said he did not feel like the Homecoming festivities affected his team negatively, despite the long halftime break.
“All you want to take away is the positive. With the game we played tonight, I think it was a non-factor,” Morrison said. “We weren’t too up but we weren’t too down. In a lot of ways, that is a great thing moving forward because we know even with a lot of distractions, we can play at a high level.”
Patrick County came out of the locker room ready to make amends for their second-quarter mistakes, however, with junior quarterback Will Sprowl making a big play to spark his team. Sprowl faked a hand-off to Dae’Shawn Penn and bolted 52 yards down the home sideline to get the Cougars back in the game at 22-13.
The Patrick County defense stood tall on the ensuing Bassett possession, holding the Bengals to a three-and-out.
“I’m proud of the effort our defense gave on that possession and our team gave in the second half,” Morrison said. “Bassett has some big, tough kids and they are a physical bunch.”
The Cougars were then able to string together a nine-minute drive, capped by a Martin Morse field goal to get within one score at 22-16, giving them the momentum with 8:23 to play.
Bassett answered with the key drive of the game, posting a field goal of their own to make it 25-16 with four minutes to play, essentially sealing the fate of Patrick County.
“That was a tough drive, you think ‘we got almost exactly what we wanted, we forced a fourth down,’” Morrison said. “They were able to move the ball and on fourth down right there, you take your hat off when they make the kick. With four minutes left in the game, you’re coming back down the field and have a short amount of time to do a lot of work.”
Penn, Sprowl, Carson Merriman, and Jonny Crowell led the rushing attack for Patrick County, which once again ran for over 200 yards as a team.
Penn tallied 108 yards on the game, which incredibly counted as a down statistical night for the junior tailback. Penn has already toted the ball over 1,000 yards in the 2019 season, a remarkable individual statistical accomplishment in just five games.
“He’s definitely been running hard. He didn’t have his best statistical game and we didn’t have our best game, but I was really proud he kept fighting,” Morrison said of Penn. “We had a couple of other guys out there who were able to produce and that was good, you have to have that when they take away part of your game.”
Patrick County (2-3) will look to get back to .500 on the season against Martinsville (0-5) on Friday night.
“Record-wise they might be down, but they’re certainly coming into this game trying to win and we’re doing the same,” Morrison said of the Bulldogs. “We’re not going to take anybody lightly, especially not after a game like this. Tonight was a speed-bump, when you hit the speed-bump you have to hit the gas so you don’t stall out. We’re going to get back after it and come hard next week.”
Bassett High School 25, Patrick County High School 16
BHS – 0 22 0 3 – 25
PCHS – 0 7 6 3 – 16
9:49 – BHS – Kevon Smith 20 rush (Kevon Smith 2 pt. rush)
6:49 – PCHS – Carson Merriman 1 rush (Martin Morse PAT good)
4:38 – BHS – Jaricous Hairston 10 rush (Freddi Lopez PAT good)
1:24 – BHS – Demetrius Gill 69 pass from Jaricous Hairston (Freddi Lopez PAT good)
7:22 – PCHS – Will Sprowl 52 rush (2 pt. fail)
8:23 – PCHS – Martin Morse 33 field goal good
4:13 – BHS – Freddi Lopez 28 field goal good
BASSETT HIGH SCHOOL
Kevon Smith 19 for 119, TD, 2pt.; Simeon Walker-Muse 7 for 70; Jaricous Hairston 7 for 37, TD; Elijah Stokes 4 for 20; Armahn Walker-Muse 1 for 4. TOTAL: 38 for 250, 2 TD, 2pt.
Jaricous Hairston 5/8 for 121, TD, INT.
Demetrius Gill 5 for 121, TD.
PATRICK COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
Dae’Shawn Penn 20 for 108; Will Sprowl 6 for 57, TD; Jonny Crowell 6 for 31; Carson Merriman 10 for 18, TD; John Williams 1 for 3. TOTAL: 43 for 217, 2TD.
Will Sprowl 1/8 for 29.
Dae’Shawn Penn 1 for 29.