Escambia High Gators: Schedules and Varsity Game Summary

Pine Forest defense thwarts Richardson
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Jeff Haws • jhaws@pnj.com • November 8, 2008
Trent Richardson has met his match in the Pine Forest defense.With the exception of one play, there was little sign of the rare combination of power and speed Escambia High's running back possesses. It's a combination that has now moved him within 50 yards of 2,000 on the season.
But one glimpse was all we would get on this night — an 81-yard touchdown run that accounted for all but 27 of his yards — as a dominant Pine Forest defense led the Eagles to a 31-10 win amid 31 unanswered points. The victory sealed the District 1-5A title for Pine Forest and knocked the Gators out of playoff contention.
The 81-yarder late in the first quarter put Escambia up 10-0, but unlike most weeks, it wasn't a sign of things to come. Not on this night.
Not against this determined defense.
That was the only Richardson run longer than 7 yards in the game. In the final three quarters, Richardson had 11 carries for 18 yards to total 108 on 17 carries. For at least one game, the Rivals.com No. 1 running back in the nation was outstaged by a group of hungry Eagles.
"We wanted it bad," Pine Forest linebacker Steven Jenkins said, of his team's desire to shut down the Escambia back. "Everybody was down there saying we don't (have) linebackers, we don't (have) a defense. So we just wanted to come out and play our hardest."
They did, overcoming three turnovers by their offense to hem in a player who ran for 351 yards just one week ago. And it wasn't just him. Minus the one 81-yard run, Escambia had 54 total yards. The Gators had just three drives of more than four plays and only one that advanced the ball more than 18 yards — the one with Richardson's run.
The toss play that has been so successful for Richardson all season gained just 5 total yards on five tries. That's because the Eagles' defense has more of one trait than any he's seen all year.
"I think speed was the key," Pine Forest coach Jerry Pollard said. "Our defense, we're small, but we can run. Everybody can run, and they run well."
That was especially key in the first half, when the Pine Forest offense had difficulties getting on track, amassing just 70 total yards, 3 points and forging a 10-10 tie because of a Shawn Morris kick return score.
Very little was working against an Escambia defense that may have played its two best games of the season the past two weeks. If Richardson could run like he typically does, the Gators might have built a lead, but the Eagles were having none of it.
"When you have a good defense, you can do that," Pollard said. "When you have a good defense, you can keep your offense in the game. I think that's what we did (Friday). In the first half, our defense kept us in the game. As soon as our offense figured it out, we were in good shape."
After the 70-yard first half, the Eagles racked up 205 yards in the second half, highlighted by Jamarius Green's 16 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown.
His numbers are very similar to Richardson, but only one of them is rated No. 1 in the nation.
Pollard, for one, was looking forward to seeing the numbers.
"Make sure you get that touch-by-touch (for Richardson) in the paper," he said.
It's there, coach. Enjoy.
Pine Forest 31, Escambia 10
Escambia 10 0 0 0 — 10
Pine Forest 7 3 14 7—31
FIRST QUARTER
E--Tim Brown 40 FG (5:16)
E--Trent Richardson 81 run (Brown kick), 18.1
PF--Shawn Morris 81 kickoff return (Sven Hurd), 4.6
SECOND QUARTER
PF--Hurd 22 FG, 47.3
THIRD QUARTER
PF--David Lawerence 3 run (Hurd kick), 8:25
PF--Terrence Royster 41 punt block return (Hurd kick) 2:07
FOURTH QUARTER
PF--Jamarius Green 18 run (Hurd kick) 5:00
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Score
Escambia

10

0

0

0

10

Pine Forest

7

7

3

14

31