The Pineville Mountain Lions saw their season come to an end on Friday with a 40-34 loss to Lynn Camp in the first round of the playoffs.
Pineville didn’t go down without a fight. Trailing 40-26 with time wind down in the fourth quarter and the Wildcats looking to run out the clock, the Lion defense stepped up bigtime.
Lynn Camp quarterback Tylen Smith had slipped out of the grasp of the PHS pass rush for most of the game, but first Reese Capps blitzed in from his safety postion for a sack on third down. Then it was Timothy Gambrel laying a big hit on Smith and forcing a fumble that Keaton Thompson recovered at the Pineville 39.
Capps hooked up with Landon Couch for a 37-yard gain and three plays later he found Couch again for a 14-yard touchdown. Scooby Morris ran in the conversion to make the score 40-34 with 1:58 to play.
Ashantee Agnew recovered a fumbled onside kick and the Lions were back in business at midfield.
A 23-yard pass to Couch along with a facemask penalty moved the ball down to the 14. Runs by Capps and Landon King advanced the ball down to the one-yard line where the Lions had first and goal with 58 seconds to work with.
Morris and Capps were both stopped short and Capps spiked the ball with seven seconds left as the Lions set up for a final play.
Colby Frazier, Noah Caldwell and several different linemen were out of the game with injuries by this point. Coach Randy Frazier sent in a late sub, but the Lions were called for a penalty for an illegal substitution.
Morris took the direct snap from the 6 dodged one Lynn Camp defender and then looked to pass, but his throw was too high for King and fell incomplete as Lynn Camp held on.
“That was me. I had miscounted. We didn’t have some kids that had gotten hurt that are usually in on that formation. I sent a guy in there and was trying to get another one off but we had already broke the huddle. That was all on me,” Coach Frazier said. “It was a horrible way to end a great season.
“Our kids put their heart and soul into it and we came close there at the end. We did some things that we hadn’t done all year in the last few minutes of the game. Landon Couch stepped up, Reese and Scooby did a great job, Landon King got in there and made a couple of plays for us. It was just a shame that it had gotten to that point. Defensively, I felt like we just didn’t do what we needed to win the game.”
The Lions jumped on top early with Frazier scoring on a 2-yard run after a lengthy opening drive. Braiden Lingar came up with an interception and returned it to the Lynn Camp 27. Capps found Couch in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown pass and it was 12-0 with 5:37 to play in the first quarter.
Lynn Camp answered as Chase Brown took an end around, slipped a tackle and went 48 yards down the sideline for touchdown to cut the lead to 12-6.
A 3-yard TD run by Jacob Wolliver tied the game at 12 with 9:13 to play in the first half.
The Lions were driving inside Lynn Camp’s 20 but lost a fumble that was returned all the way to the PHS 30. Five plays later Tylen Smith scrambled away from pressure and ran 9-yards for a touchdown. Brown’s conversion put Lynn Camp up 20-12 with 3:43 to go in the half.
Morris returned the following kick 60 yards to the Lynn Camp 13. He capped a quick drive with a 1-yard TD run and added the conversion to tie things at 20.
Smith hit three long passes and then found Dommanick Cook for a 17-yard touchdown that put Lynn Camp up 27-20 at the half.
The Lions recovered a fumble to start the third quarter and immediately went to work with Morris, razier and King all sharing carries. Frazier’s 1-yard TD plunge cut the lead to 27-26 with 7:58 to play in the quarter.
The teams traded possessions with Lynn Camp missing a field goal and a penatly forcing the Lions to punt from their own end zone.
Smith passed to Spencer Gilbert for a 12-yard touchdown for a 33-26 lead. The Wildcats then recovered the following kick after the Lions let it bounce at the 40. Four plays later Smith got free for a 16-yard run and a 40-26 lead.
“Lynn Camp made the plays they needed to in the passing game. We knew they would probably come in throwing after they saw what happened to us last week up at Sayre,” Frazier said. “You have to give them credit. They had a great game plan and they did what they needed to do to win the football game.”
Lynn Camp (5-5) advances to play at Williamsburg on Friday in round two.
Frazier led the Lions with 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries before leaving the game in the third quarter. Morris added 66 yards on 11 carries. Capps completed five passes, all to Couch for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Pineville finishes the season with a record of 8-3. The eight wins in the regular season is the most the Mountian Lions have had in 31 years.
“The kids had a wonderful season. We finished the year 8-3. I told them they set a foundation for what we can do here at Pineville moving forward,” Frazier added. ‘This group of seniors won’t be forgotten Hopefully we can build from this and move forward.”