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Pirates football outlasted by Red Barons

Gates 49 Perquimans 6

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Perquimans' Saiveon Skinner (with ball) during the game against Gates, Wednesday at Perquimans County High School.

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By David Gough
Sports Writer

Friday, October 12, 2018

HERTFORD — Wednesday night’s final score doesn’t necessarily show how well Perquimans played early on in its home game against Gates.

The Pirates fought enough to be right in it a few minutes into the second quarter, before eventually falling to the Red Barons 49-6 in a game moved up two days due to possible effects of Hurricane Michael.

Perquimans’ start was highlighted by receiver-turned-quarterback Saiveon Skinner’s 80-yard touchdown run down the right sideline. It got the home team within eight points of Gates in the beginning minutes of the second quarter.

“Great run. It was great,” Pirates coach Randy Awrey said. “The plays are there and the things are there. We’re just not executing and not getting the timing down. We switched quarterbacks to try to make some things happen.”

Skinner’s touchdown was easily the biggest play of Perquimans’ (0-8, 0-2 Albemarle Athletic) season. It was the third touchdown the Pirates have scored all season and it was the only one they scored on Wednesday.

Perquimans’ defense played the biggest contributor to its solid start to the game. The Pirates defense forced Gates (6-1, 2-0 AAC) to punt in both of its first two possessions of the game.

Then, after Skinner’s score, Perquimans pounced on a fumble with the Red Barons at the Pirates’ 34-yard line, but the offense was unable to take advantage.

Aside from the early punts, Gates was still able to use the big play to open up a lead before Perquimans scored its lone touchdown.

The Red Barons took advantage of a Pirates fumble late in the first quarter that set up a 16-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jawan Riddick on the first play of that drive.

On the next possession in the second quarter, Riddick doubled his previous touchdown run by taking it 33 yards to the house to give Gates a 14-0 lead. Running back Greg Crandol rushed for 44 yards leading up to the Riddick touchdown, finishing with a game-high 164 yards on the ground.

Eventually, Riddick also connected on a 63-yard touchdown pass to Tyrell Holley -- on another drive-opening play -- and a 16-yard touchdown to Jordan Robinson to give the Red Barons a 28-6 halftime lead.

“The big play killed us in the first half,” Awrey said. “Couple big plays and that was it. Next thing you know, that opened up the door (for Gates).”

Holley later returned a safety kick for a touchdown in the third quarter, following a Perquimans fumble in its own end zone. That safety and ensuing touchdown made it 37-6.

The Red Barons’ rounded off its scoring for the night with short touchdown runs by Ron Olsen and Nasir Jones in the fourth quarter.

Perquimans has been affected by injuries on numerous occasions this season and it was no different on Wednesday. A handful of players had to be helped off the field throughout the game.

With a small roster that’s recently being aided by bringing up junior varsity players, Awrey said it’s tough to be able to stay competitive in games having to move players to different positions when others get hurt.

Freshman E.J. Gatling is an example of a junior varsity member being brought up to the varsity level. He was the primary running back all night for the Pirates and managed to break out a couple of long first down runs.

“It’s hard for a 14-year-old kid to play against an 18-year-old kid,” Awrey said. “They’re fighting, working at it and giving a good effort. It’ll come around someday when they’re bigger and stronger.”

While inexperience and injuries played a role in Wednesday’s loss as it has other times this season, Awrey knows that the team they faced was already a tough task to begin with.

“(Gates is) a very good football team,” Awrey said. “They know how to win and they got things together, give them credit. We did well at the beginning, I just wish we could hang on for the four quarters.”

It’s a good start for Gates this season, but coach Matt Biggy acknowledged that there’s still work to be done to finish the season strong.

Wednesday wasn’t the first slow start to a game that the Red Barons have had this season. They fell victim to Bertie in a close game two weeks ago because of one and eventually overcame a slow start to win in blowout fashion against Manteo last week.

“That’s three weeks in a row we started slow,” Biggy said. “Can’t do that every game and still expect to stay in it. Just have to find a way to get started quicker, but once we get going we’re playing well.”

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