Pattonville sophomore linebacker Freddie Moore almost didn’t see it coming.
On what turned out to be perhaps the Pirates’ biggest play of the season to date, Moore had his back to the ball, but he turned around just in time to recover an onside kick that shifted momentum the Pirates’ way in the team’s 38-31 win Friday at Christian Brothers College High.
“I knew we all just had to hustle and get to the ball,” Moore said. “I didn’t spot the ball. I thought it was going downfield, but the team on the sideline told me to turn around because the ball was right there.”
Moore recovered the kick following a Brad Montgomery 20-yard touchdown run and Pattonville again marched down the field and scored on a Dominic Greenlee 32-yard touchdown run. In the span of five minutes and two seconds, the Pirates erased a 17-10 deficit to move out to a 24-17 lead.
“Sometimes, you have to go out and make your own luck,” Pattonville coach Doug Newton said. “We haven’t been blessed with much luck this season and we knew it was time to take a risk with the onside kick. It was just one of those things where we were going to do this.”
The momentum swing did its damage to CBC’s defense, as Cadets coach Scott Pingel saw it.
“That was a crucial point of the game when they recovered that onside kick,” he said. “It made a big difference. Our guys just didn’t make a play and they did.”
From the 8:44 mark of the third quarter until there was 11:49 to play in the game, CBC’s offense ran exactly two plays, an incomplete pass and a Kevon Johnson interception of a Cody Barklage pass.
But, after Pattonville went up 31-17 on an eight-yard TD run by Greenlee with 11:49 to go, CBC roared back to tie it on Roderick Alton touchdown runs of 25 and one yard to knot the score at 31.
But, on the Pirates’ final meaningful possession of the game, Pattonville (3-3) moved the ball 62 yards on just five plays in blowing past a worn-out CBC defense. The Pirates took the final lead on a 21-yard run from Montgomery with 1:48 to play.
“We had a lot of desire to win this game and we all really stepped it up,” Montgomery said. “Our o-line opened up some holes and it allowed us to move the ball and let our twin get 150-something yards.”
Pattonville’s other scores came on a nine-yard run by Montgomery and a 38-yard field goal from Zach Knight in the first quarter.
The main force behind Pattonville being virtually unstoppable on the ground was the three-headed attack of Montgomery, Greenlee and Brett Walker.
While Montgomery paced Pattonville with three scores and added 74 yards, it was Walker’s 157 yards on the ground that fueled the Pirates’ offensive machine, which racked up 364 yards of total offense.
Walker credited the team effort in the wake of the loss of its star running back, Percy Calicutt, for the season due to ligament damage in his ankle.
“Without Percy, we knew we had to step up as a whole,” Walker said. “It means a lot to be able to do this. Today, our offense stepped up when our defense was down and our defense stepped up when our offense was down.”
Alton led the Cadets with 325 total yards – 287 on the ground and 47 receiving – as well as the three scores.
“Roderick is, unfortunately, tired of always being compared to someone else,” Pingel said in reference to graduated CBC back and Alton’s cousin, Rayon Simmons. “He’s showing he’s a great running back and is trying hard to go out and make his own name.”
For Newton, the win was an important one for a variety of reasons.
“We’re (just past) midway through the season and we’re a .500 team,” Newton said. “We’ve got one conference game and then we’re looking at district football. Sure, I’d love to be 6-0, but, from where we started two weeks ago at 1-3, I’m very pleased to be where we are. I think this can open our kids’ eyes some. Even though we started out slow, we still have the potential and the capabilities to reach those goals we set for ourselves to start this season.”
Pattonville will look to keep up its winning ways when it heads to Suburban North Conference rival Hazelwood Central (4-1 prior to Saturday’s game) for a game at 1 p.m. Oct. 11.