There was never any question the Perquimans football team was going for the two-point conversion after it had scored the tying touchdown in overtime at Northampton-East last Friday.
It’s a matter of policy.
“We have a kicker, but we don’t kick extra points,” said Pirates coach T.J. Worrell. “We’ve got Kris VanHise to punt and kick off for us. He’s a soccer player who has never kicked a football before, so as a staff, we feel like we’re better off trying to get three yards by running our offense than kicking an extra point with a guy who doesn’t get to practice too much with us.”
That left the ball in the very capable hands of quarterback Cody Saunders, who had just made it 28-28 by scoring on an option play.
Worrell sent in the same play. Saunders faked to fullback Reshawn Staten, pulled the ball back, then followed Staten into the end zone. Two points. Game over. Perquimans wins 30-28 and runs its record to 2-0.
“Cody read it on the touchdown and he read it again on the conversion,” Worrell said. “He pulled it back and got in. We ran the play where we had numbers on them and we got great blocking.”
The dramatic win helped ease the disappointment of the Pirates blowing a 22-6 halftime lead.
Fortunately, the offense rose to the occasion as Perquimans accumulated 255 yards.
“We’re throwing the ball really well, I think we could run the ball a little bit better, but we’re really balanced,” Worrell said. “We’re about two-thirds run and one-third pass, yet our production is almost 50-50.”
Saunders completed 9 of 21 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 21 yards and two TDs on 13 attempts, Staton carried the ball 21 times for 84 yards and a score, Mikel Harvey had seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown and A.J. Felton picked up 44 yards on two receptions.
Despite squandering the 16-point lead in the second half, Worrell doesn’t think the defense played all that badly.
“I’m pleased with our execution on defense,” he said. “We haven’t given up huge passing plays, we haven’t given up a touchdown passing yet and we’ve only given up one big run all season. We’re giving up points, but the other team is working for them.
“It’s not like the other team is going up and down the field on us.”
Worrell is hoping that trend continues Friday night when Gates County (1-1) comes calling in the Pirates’ home opener. The Red Barons piled up 456 total yards in out-lasting Pasquotank 41-36 last week and dropped a 21-20 decision to a good Hertford team in their first game. Gates thumped Perquimans 31-18 last year.
“They’re big up front, they’ve got a couple of good tailbacks and their quarterback (Graham Hobbs) is a three-year starter,” said Worrell, ticking off some reasons to be concerned.
Hobbs will surely be a threat to the up-to-now stout Pirates pass defense. He passed for 260 yards yards and four touchdowns against the Panthers.
“They can do more than pass, they’ll run their power football game, too,” said Worrell. “We’re going to have to slow them down and score some points. If we can do that, we’ll be okay.”
Although it is still early and Gates is a non-conference game, Perquimans should come out and play inspired football. Last year the Pirates had to wait until Week Five to notch their first win and they are determined to prove to the home fans that their 2-0 record is no fluke.
“We only get four chances to play at home this year and I think the kids want to show the folks in town we’re playing pretty good football,” Worrell said. “They’re taking a lot of pride in that.”