SALISBURY – Cream of Cabarrus sixth-ranked Mount Pleasant left a possible four scores inside the East Rowan red zone, which made all the difference in the Tigers’ 27-20 loss Friday night at Mustang Stadium.
The Tigers committed turnovers inside the Mustangs red zone in the first and second quarters, then were stopped on downs twice inside the 10-yard line in the fourth quarter as they tried to rally.
In the meantime, Mount Pleasant’s failure to seal the deal opened opportunities for East Rowan running back Sammy Pinckney to take over. The sophomore rushed 25 times for 263 yards, and his 91-yard score early in the fourth quarter was a punch to the Tigers’ gut.
“All-in-all, it was just very disappointing,” said Mount Pleasant coach Mike Johns. “I hate it. We just have to get better. We have to coach better. We have to play better. You don’t like games like this before the bye week. We’re just going to have to grow up and overcome.”
Dalton Miller’s 5-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening possession gave Mount Pleasant an early lead, and the Tigers followed it by recovering an onside kick. The Tigers reached the East Rowan 11 but lost possession on Isaac Hincerman’s interception in the end zone.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Mustangs’ Caleb Jarvis recovered a Mount Pleasant fumble in his end zone. The Tigers possessed the ball for more than 10 minutes of the first quarter but only had seven points to show for it.
“Yes, we got turnovers on defense,” said East coach John Fitz, who lauded his team’s overall effort. “We were kind of playing bend-but-don’t break. But when the ball got down there in their red zone, we were able to make stops. And we did it twice in prime times.”
Mount Pleasant 2-5 overall, 0-0 Rocky River 2A Conference; East Rowan 3-3, 0-0 North Piedmont 3A.
THE PLAY OF THE GAME
East Rowan was barely clinging to its lead and its momentum early in the fourth quarter but managed to protect both by stopping Mount Pleasant on downs at the Mustangs’ 3-yard line. Still it felt as though the Tigers’ offense would score if given another chance.
Backed up close to their goal line, the Mustangs mustered six yards on first and second downs. On the next play, Pinckney took a handoff and burst through a sizeable hole. He made a quick cut to avoid a couple tacklers and raced 91 yards for a touchdown and a 27-13 East Rowan lead.
Mount Pleasant did score again, but it didn’t matter because of the cushion Pinckney’s long score provided.
-- Junior running back Brent Reece had a team-high 114 yards, and a touchdown, on 19 carries
-- Junior quarterback Ryan Tyson carried 16 times for 110 yards and passed for 103 yards on six completions.
-- Junior running back Dalton Miller scored once and gained 99 yards on 15 carries.
-- Isa’ah Cauthen stood out on both sides of the ball. He rushed for 57 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and led East Rowan with 11 tackles.
-- In addition to his fumble recovery in the end zone in the second quarter, Jarvis also had an interception later in the period.
-- There were a couple of plays in which the Mustangs lived up to the name of their mascot. In the second quarter, tight end Jacob Daubenmire caught a pass and carried Mount Pleasant defensive back Chris Earnhardt several steps – horsey style – for a 12-yard gain. In the third quarter, Pinckney looked like a bucking bronco on a 17-yard gain in which he kicked away a couple tacklers with two forceful stiff arms.
-- Mount Pleasant kicker Owen Prifti executed a perfect onside kick, recovered by teammate Anthony Eury, following the Tigers’ opening scoring drive.
-- An interception in the third quarter by Mount Pleasant defensive back Sawyer Osborne was superhero-like. He soared through the air to steal away a pass from an East Rowan receiver but couldn’t fold up his fully extended body quickly enough and crash-landed at the Tigers’ 45-yard line.
WHAT’S UP NEXT?
Mount Pleasant is idle next week before opening up conference play at home against Anson on Oct. 18. East Rowan hosts West Rowan next Friday.
Mount Pleasant 7 0 6 7 -- 20
East Rowan 0 12 7 8 -- 27
MP – Dalton Miller 5 run (Owen Prifti kick)
ER – Vincent Jones 23 pass from Logan Forbis (kick failed)
ER – Isa’ah Cauthen 12 run (run failed)
ER – Cauthen 6 run (Cole Eagle kick)
MP – Brent Reece 7 run (kick blocked)
ER – Sammy Pinckney 91 run (Cauthen run)
MP – Layton Honeycutt 40 pass from Ryan Tyson (Prifti kick)