Patrick County Starts Season with Comeback Win
By Harrison Hamlet
(HILLSVILLE, Va.) – Patrick County football head coach David Morrison watched his players as they fell 21-6 in the first half of Friday night’s road game at Carroll County. He liked what he saw.
Morrison’s faith in his players was rewarded as the Cougars stormed from behind to claim a 38-27 road win over their neighbors from the West to open the 2019 season in style.
“Going into the half there, we really had a couple of bad breaks right in a row. We lost a fumble that put them in a good position and put them up 21-6 in the first half,” Morrison said. “But, the boys never back down. It was an away game to open the year, and we were really proud going into halftime; they didn’t fold up and quit. Our players just kept coming at them.”
Patrick County responded to the 21-6 deficit by scoring the next three touchdowns in the game to take a 26-21 lead going into the final quarter. Over the last 12 minutes, the Cougars remained in control, outscoring the Cavaliers 12-6 in the final frame to secure the 38-27 win.
Morrison said that going into the game, he and his coaching staff knew it would be close and come down to a possession or two. Coming out of halftime, a key defensive stop stood out to him as a key moment in the game.
“We broke out of halftime and got a stop, and that was huge for us defensively, a stop on a fourth-down play,” Morrison said. “We made some offensive adjustments at the half, blocking adjustments, for things on the field that were different than what we saw on film. Once we got it right, we really played up to our potential.”
Dae’Shawn Penn (18 carries for 265 yards, four touchdowns, and a 2-point conversion) and Carson Merriman (10 carries for 79 yards) were dominant rushing the ball for Patrick County while quarterback Will Sprowl made the most of his three carries, scoring two touchdowns.
Defensively, linebackers Bryson Fulcher, Jess Edwards, and Jonathan Pell kept the Cavaliers at bay, tallying 29 solo tackles between them.
Morrison said that the second half was exactly what he wanted to see heading into Patrick County’s September 6 home opener against Floyd County.
“That’s what we’ve got to get through to our kids: That second half is playing to our potential, and that’s what it looks like,” Morrison said. “We played a lot better in the second half. We still made some mistakes, and we still have things to work on, but that was a good half.”
As for treating the games against neighboring Carroll and Floyd County as rivalry games, Morrison said his team treats every game as a rivalry game and will be ready to play again when the ball goes in the air on Friday night.
“We celebrated on the bus ride home then started getting back to work,” Morrison said. “We treat every game like a rivalry game; if we aren’t up for any of the teams around us, they’re all going to beat us. They’re all good. A lot of our district games are pretty close, the proximity of most of the schools that we play generates a rivalry feel, and we embrace those kinds of games.”
Although Floyd County (0-1) opened 2019 with a loss, Morrison said that Patrick County (1-0) would not take them lightly after looking at the film of their next opponent’s opening 35-16 loss to Christiansburg (1-0).
“They lost to Christiansburg, but in looking at that game, reading the score does not reflect how close that game was, it was just a play, a drive, a score here-and-there,” Morrison said. “Floyd is tough, talented and fast. They’re definitely physical upfront, and we have to prepare our kids for that.”
PCHS – 6, 12, 8, 12 – 38
CCHS – 7, 14, 0, 6 – 27