Pirates’ offense rolls up Rams

By John Robert Page
Hamilton Correspondent

WINFIELD – The Winfield Pirates avenged its only regular season loss last season defeating the Northside Rams 32-14 on Friday, Aug. 27, at Estes Hudson Stadium in Winfield.
Northside defeated the Pirates 21-14 last season in the Pirates only regular season loss, with a power running attack and ball control offense.
The Pirates offense put last week’s sluggish performance behind them, and rolled up three first half scores and added two more late touchdowns to put away the Rams.
Winfield’s defense was stingy, like in their first game against Fayette County, stopping the Rams on fourth-and-short three times and one goal line stand holding the Rams short at their own two-yard line.
"The coaches did a good preparing them and the players did a great job of executing," Winfield head coach David McKinney said. "We have 14 kids out going into this game, and I told our guys it would be a great opportunity for the you guys that aren’t getting as much playing time to go out and prove you can do.”
“We played a lot of people tonight and depth wins,” McKinney concluded. “The defense made some plays and offense finally got going. Hopefully we are getting better.”
“I think we improve the most from week one to week two,” McKinney said. “We still got a bunch of mistakes that we can correct, and we are going to go to work and get ready for our first region game.”
“I’m tickled to death for the win, and we talk about climbing the hill and getting better, and when we get to the playoffs we want to still be improving,” McKinney said.
The Rams received the opening kickoff and chewed up over five minutes of the first quarter before the Pirates’ defense stuffed the Rams on fourth-and-one at the Winfield 22, forcing a turnover-on-downs.
The Pirates were unable to pick up a first down on its initial drive of the evening and punted back to Northside.
After forcing a punt by the Rams on the ensuing possession, the Pirates took over at their own 20-yard line. Drew Cook got the drive started with a 14-yard run, and then Aidan Quinn passed to Seth Kemble for 12 more yards to the 46.
After a pass interference penalty moved the Pirates to the Rams 38, Ja’borri McGhee ran for four yards and Cook broke free on the next play for a 34-yard touchdown run.
Joseph Cox’s two-point conversion run came up shy of the goal line, but Winfield took the lead 6-0 with 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Pirates forced another punt on the Rams next possession and took over at their own 28-yard line.
Quinn passed to Andrew Wallace for two yards on first down and Cox rambled for nine more yards to the Pirates 39 for a first down.
On the next play, Quinn rolled to his right and was being chased by Northside defenders as he heaved a pass downfield to Jordan Mastin, who raced past the defense and into the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown catch and run.
McGhee bulled his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion run and Winfield stretched its lead to 14-0 with 10:01 left in the first half.
The Winfield defense came up big on the Rams next drive as Gabe Guin forced a Ram fumble and McGhee jumped on the loose football setting up the Pirates at their own 41.
Cox found some running room and rambled for 24 yards on first down.
After another pass interference penalty against Northside, Cox ran for four more yards to the Northside 16.
Later, Cook found a crease in the defense and ran in for a 16-yard touchdown.
Cox’s two-point conversion run failed to reach the goal line, but the Pirates increased their lead to 20-0 with 7:03 left in the second quarter.
Both teams traded possessions the rest of the first half and through the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter the Rams had driven down to the Winfield four-yard line and quarterback Braden Green rushed into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown.
Evan Gragg added the extra point as the Rams cut into the Pirates lead 20-7, with 11:54 left in the game.
After a Pirates’ turnover the Rams went back to work with a short field starting at the Winfield 36. Green carried the load on the drive and was stuffed on a fourth-and-three just inches shy of the first down turning the ball back over to Winfield.
On the ensuing drive, after the Pirates moved the ball down to the Northside 24-yard line, Cox found a running lane and ran past all defenders for a 24-yard touchdown.
Cox was stopped short on the two-point conversion run, but the Pirates moved its lead to 26-7 with 7:34 left in the game.
The Rams next drive ended after three plays when Seth Kemble fought the Rams receiver for the ball and came up with an interception setting up Winfield at the Ram 37.
Quinn passed to Rain Nolan for six yards and had a personal foul penalty added to the catch run to move the Pirates to the Northside 16-yard line.
Cox did the honors from there, as the offensive line opened a huge hole and Cox walked into the end zone for the 16-yard touchdown.
Brooks Smith’s extra point attempt sailed wide left, but Winfield added to the lead at 32-7 with 6:27 left in the game.
Northside added another touchdown late as Green capped a nine-play 69-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run.
Gragg tacked on the extra point to cut the lead to 32-14 with 2:31 left in the game.
Winfield was able to run out the clock after recovering an onside kick to seal the win.
Winfield finished the game with 291 total yards, with 192 rushing and 99 passing yards.
Cox led the rushing attack with 15 carries for 113 yards and two scores. Cook ran four times for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
Quinn was seven-of 18 passing for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Mastin led the receivers with one catch for 61-yards and a touchdown. D’Angelo Bankhead and Nolan each caught two passes for 12 yards. Kemble had one reception for 12 yards. Wallace had one grab for two yards.
Defensively Will Beasley, Guin, and Cook each had a sack. Mastin and Kemble both had interceptions.
Winfield (2-0) will host the Tarrant Wildcats on Friday, Sept. 3. This will be the first game of the season for Tarrant, who forfeited their season last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The two have faced off before in 1988 and 1989.

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