Panthers ‘control’ Red Barons

Published 12:34 am Saturday, September 1, 2012

GATESVILLE – It’s what’s up front that counts.

Pasquotank High School controlled the line of scrimmage Friday night in Gatesville and subsequently sent the home-team Red Barons crash landing to a 39-6 defeat in the team’s home opener.

The loss dropped the Barons to 1-2 on the season – both losses coming to Northeast Coastal Conference foes – having dropped their season opener to Bertie High back in August.

Senior receiver Brandon Stifflemire hauled in a pass from sophomore quarterback Andrew Wiggins on the 19-yard line and then followed his blockers 81 yards to the end zone for what proved to be Gates’ only score of the night.

Stifflemire later left the game with an injury in the second half.

Pasquotank got on the board first as the Panthers drove ninety yards in three plays on their third possession of the game for a 6-0 lead as junior Jason Bennett ran off-tackle 19 yards to the end zone.  The point-after kick by Kali Smith made it 7-0.

Gates got their fans on their feet with a second quarter scoring drive.

Pinned deep in their own territory at the 11-yard line things almost went from bad to worse for the Barons when Wiggins mishandled a bad snap and fell on the ball at the six-yard line.

But it was on the very next play that he hit Stifflemire on a curl pattern and after the Panthers safety got faked out of his shoes, Stifflemire’s fleet feet did the rest 81 yards down the sideline to paydirt.

However, the kick was wide left and that left the Barons trailing by one, 7-6.

The score remained at that mark into halftime.

In the second half it was all Pasquotank.  The fans had barely returned to their seats from the mid-break when the Panthers scored on their opening third quarter drive.

The visitors then went 65 yards from the second half kickoff in just two plays.  First with a 63-yard pass play to the two yard line and finishing it off with a short plunge by Romello Spence for their second score of the game.  Dalen Spence handled the point-after duties this time and his kick sailed thru to make it, 14-6.

The Red Barons didn’t pick up a first down until there were just three minutes left in the quarter.  Sadly, however, for the home fans, that drive died at midfield and it remained 14-6 entering the final 12 minutes.

As they did opening the previous quarter, Pasquotank put up another score to open the fourth, making it 20-6 after the point-after kick was blocked.

The Panthers got 19 more points in the frame.  One score coming on an interception return for a touchdown, and two more scores on their final two drives of the night.

“We’ve got to just keep working to get better,” said Gates coach Matt Biggy, “because they (Pasquotank) controlled the line of scrimmage.”

“We didn’t get many drives going,” he added. “And when we did we ended up either with penalties or in 3rd-and-long and that’s just not good situations for us.”

Gates is back on the road for the third time this season next week….a Saturday afternoon game with Atlantic Shores Christian School in Chesapeake with a 1 p.m. kickoff.