on November 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)
Bulldogs pass their way into playoffs
PENDLETON — On a night when everything was on the line, including their high school football careers, Pendleton High School’s John Michael Gibson and C.J. Gleaton came up big when their teammates needed them the most.
The two seniors, playing what could have been their final game at Cunningham Stadium, hooked up five times for 165 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs rolled to a 50-13 victory over Crescent.
The win finally clinched a playoff spot that had been put on hold for the last week. Coupled with Emerald’s win over Walhalla Friday night, the Bulldogs will also host a first-round playoff game for the sixth straight year.
This is their seventh straight appearance in the playoffs under head coach Paul Sutherland.
“We lost intensity in the middle of the season and something happened there that we really can’t explain,” Gibson said. “Coming out of Walhalla with a loss really hurt us last week. We had a team meeting earlier this week and we came out tonight with a lot of anger.
“We knew as seniors we might not even have another go, but now knowing we will have another game here, and get to play in front of our fans, in front of a packed house, I love it.”
With wingback Tye Burke out thanks to a knee sprain and tailback Reggie Earle on the sideline watching due to a midweek injury, Gibson and Gleaton wasted little time putting the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes on their shoulders. On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Gibson ran play-action and found Gleaton wide open over the middle for a 63-yard touchdown.
“Coach (Sutherland) told me before the game what the first play was so I went and relayed to C.J. that we were going to throw it over the top and C.J. told me to ‘throw it out there and I will go get it,’” Gibson said. “I told him, ‘this is Senior Night and we are going to throw it out there.’
“That’s what we did all night. He put it on our shoulders and we came out and made the plays.”
Gibson finished his evening 6-of-9 for 208 yards, while Gleaton finished the night with five catches for 165.
“People say we really are not a passing team, so we came out here and proved to them that we can air it out just like everyone else,” Gleaton said. “Me and John Michael really haven’t been connecting that good the last couple of weeks, but we just had to get our rhythm back.”
Gibson didn’t waste any more time the next time the Bulldogs (7-3, 3-2 Skyline AA) got the ball.
After forcing a Crescent punt, Gibson went to the air with his first down pass from the 50 and hit Anthony Eubanks for a 43-yard pass near the left sideline. On the next play, sophomore running back Miquel Hill took in from the 7 for a 13-0 lead with not even three minutes run off the clock.
“I told them before the game that we have to have some excitement and go have some fun,” Sutherland said. “We have been through a lot. This was the first game in which they were on. They were on tonight. This is what I felt like this group was capable of all year, and I’m very proud of them.”
It wasn’t all offense Friday for Pendleton. The defense held the Tigers, who averaged more than 300 rushing yards a game the previous two weeks, to 157 rushing yards and 164 overall, while also scoring a touchdown when Dee Young picked up an Evan Miller fumble and rumbled 15 yards to give the Bulldogs a 20-0 lead with 9:10 remaining in the first quarter.
“The defense was embarrassed last week, the coaches and the players, and they know that,” Sutherland said. “But they responded tonight. I’m very proud of my defense because they had a first-team shutout.”
Pendleton added to its lead in the second quarter when Gibson hit Gleaton going across the middle, and after the 6-foot-2, 173-pound senior broke a tackle around the Crescent 20-yard line, he saw nothing but green grass while covering 40 yards for a 26-0 lead.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t pouring down rain so we could throw it a little bit,” Sutherland joked. “Those are our leaders. Those two got the momentum going.”
A 32-yard Gibson-to-Gleaton pass on the Bulldogs’ next possession set Pendleton up at the Tigers’ 1-yard line. Fullback Tyler Stewart went in for his first touchdown on the next play for a 33-0 advantage, and then placekicker Zach Sears added a 40-yard field goal as time expired to the end the half.
The Bulldogs extended the score to 43-0 in the third quarter when Stewart scored from a yard out with 2:41 to go, and after Miller scored Crescent’s first touchdown in the fourth quarter, running back Hack Sullivan scored on a 67-yard run to close out the scoring for Pendleton.
The Bulldogs finished the night with a very balanced 405 yards of total offense, including 197 rushing yards on just 20 carries.
“I have been trying to push those buttons all year, and tonight we played the way I thought we are capable of playing,” Sutherland said.
Pendleton will host Southside in next week’s first-round of the Class AA Playoffs. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Crescent (4-6, 2-3) will represent Skyline AA as the No. 4 seed.
Pendleton 50, Crescent 13
CHS 0 0 0 13 — 13
PHS 20 16 7 7 — 50
PHS — Gleaton 63 yard pass from Gibson (Sears kick) 11:44
PHS — Hill 7 yard run (kick failed) 9:19
PHS — Young 15 yard fumble return (Sears kick) 9:10
PHS — Gleaton 40 yard pass from Gibson (kick failed) 11:51
PHS — Stewart 1 yard run (Sears kick) 6:12
PHS — Sears 40 yard field goal 0:00
PHS — Stewart 1 yard runr (Acevedo kick) 2:41
CHS — Miller 11 yard run (Sharpe kick) 6:27
PHS — Sullivan 67 yard run (Acevedo kick) 0:53
CHS — Miller 87 yard kick return (run failed) 0:40
First Downs 13 15
Rushes-Yards 46-157 20-197
Passing Yards 7 2-08
Com-Att-Int 1-5-1 6-10-1
Punts-Avg 4-20.3 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-50 7-60
Rushing — Crescent, Miller 15-65, Tillman 11-56, Mitchell 10-20, Burdette 8-8, Witcher 2-8. Pendleton, Sullivan 3-75, Brown 5-49, Stewart 8-47, Hill 6-26, Skelly 1-0, Sutherland 1-0.
Passing — Crescent, Burdette 1-5-1 7. Pendleton, Gibson 6-9-0 208, Skelly 0-1-1 0.
Receiving — Crescent, Mitchell 1-7. Pendleton, Gleaton 5-165, Eubanks 1-43.