By Jim Manion | Correspondent
There is no such thing as quit when it comes to the Southeast Pirates football team. For the second week in a row, the Pirates found themselves down by two scores, and once again managed to never say die and pull out another thrilling victory.
Down 26-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Pirates rallied by forcing three turnovers and scored the game-winning touchdown on a Nick Sigworth 1-yard run with 1:14 left on the clock to capture a 29-26 victory over visiting Crestwood.
The Pirates' heroes were too numerous to name according to head coach Scott Pollock as he talked to his team following the contest.
"What a great win because you guys never quit, and that's the sign of a good team," Pollock told his players. "You can talk about speed and athleticism and all that other stuff, but you know what it takes -- heart. And tonight that's exactly what you guys had when the game was on the line. Remember what we said at halftime, we had to stick together as a team, and that's what you guys did."
Southeast did exactly what it needed to do in the final 12 minutes -- recover a fumble for a score, then recover an onside kick and take it into the end zone for the winning score.
Crestwood (1-2) totaled almost 400 yards of offense, but five turnovers and three missed conversion attempts cost the Devils their second game in three tries.
Crestwood wasted little time in getting on the board as the Devils took the opening kickoff at the 26-yard line and marched 74 yards in only five plays. Running back Kenny Jackson led the way, carrying three times. His third carry was a 46-yard TD gallop that gave his team a 6-0 lead with 10:12 still remaining on the first-quarter clock. Jackson led all ball carriers with 152 yards in 18 rushes.
The Pirates were forced to punt on their first possession, and Crestwood took over at their own five-yard line. Running back Jared Bailey capped a 95-yard drive with a 1-yard score coming with 2:42 left in the first quarter. A key play in the drive was a 19-yard pass to Clayton Ramirez.
Southeast scored early in the second quarter when quarterback Jordan Krych hit halfback Shayne Meadows coming out of the backfield from the 4. The touchdown was set up by a 48-yard pass thrown by Quinn Porter to Lucas Bloom. Southeast trailed 12-7 when Sonny Canfield kicked the extra point with 11:29 left in the second quarter.
Crestwood came right back and in 30 seconds put another touchdown on the board. Following a 42-yard kickoff return by Eric Harris and a short flare pass to Brendan Fannin coming out of the backfield, Fannin took off and outraced the field to the end zone for an 18-7 Red Devils advantage.
Fannin ran a sweep on the conversion attempt for a 20-7 lead that held up to halftime despite three lost fumbles by Crestwood in the second quarter.
Southeast (2-1) took the second half kickoff and punched out 55 yards in 15 plays, with Krych calling his own number from the 1 on a sneak to cut the deficit to 20-14 with 6:47 to play in the third quarter.
Crestwood answered to open the fourth quarter when Fannin once again showed his speed on a 15-yard sweep, pushing the lead back up to 26-14 on the first play of the final stanza.
Southeast drove the ball to the Crestwood six, but could not punch in a score, and the Red Devils took over on downs with 6:24 left in the game.
After picking up a pair of first downs out to the 27-yard line it appeared the Devils were set to run out the clock. However, a Crestwood fumble bounced into the arms of Lucas Bloom, who was off to the races for a 25-yard score that gave the Pirates life. The Canfield extra point cut Southeast's deficit to 26-21 with 4:21 remaining.
The Pirates then attempted an onside kick, and a large pile exactly 10 yards from where Canfield kicked the ball had everyone holding their breath as players were unpiled by the officials. Out from the bottom of the pack came sophomore Brett Bailey holding up the pigskin to signal possession Pirates. It was the second fumble recovery on the night for Bailey.
Aided by a roughing the passer penalty, Southeast punched out a pair of first downs with Quinn Porter and Sigworth doing most of the running. It was Sigworth that got the final call, diving into the end zone over his right side of the line for the 27-26 advantage.
Pollock elected to go for the 2-point conversion, looking at a possible three-point lead. Krych appeared to look for receivers on his left but then elected to run to open space and tacked on the 2 for a 29-26 lead with 1:14 left on the clock.
The final minute saw Crestwood drive to the 24-yard line, but the final play of the night was a throw to the end zone that fell incomplete.
"With turnovers, errors on our special teams and penalties, you can't expect to win a game," said Red Devils coach Pete Thompson. "I told the kids we got what we deserved. When you turn the ball over five times and make some of the mistakes we made you deserve to lose."