By Zack Farmer
A wasted Stuart Hall scoring opportunity at the end of the first half and back-to-back scores from Woodside Priory in the third quarter shifted the momentum and the outcome of the Panther’s come-from-behind 46-30 win on Saturday afternoon at Treasure Island.
“We just didn’t take advantage when we had the chance,” said Stuart Hall head coach Richard Robinson. “We just didn’t make those plays that we needed to make today.”
The loss puts the Knights a game behind Priory in the Mission Trail Athletic League’s 8-man football division race with only a game to go, so now Stuart Hall can only hope for a share of the league title.
Stuart Hall (4-2, 3-1) led 18-16 late in the second quarter and had an opportunity to add to its lead when the Knights entered the red zone with less than 2 minutes left.
Four plays later, with 30 seconds remaining in the half, Priory’s Tom Latta sacked Stuart Hall quarterback Tray’von Hicks on fourth-and-1, forcing a turnover on downs.
That gave the momentum to Priory (6-0, 4-0) heading into the break, after what head coach Doug Sargent called the Panthers’ worst half of the season.
“That was big,” Sargent said. “For me . . . we played the worst half of the year and we’re only down by two, where it could have been eight or ten. That would have been a different [halftime] speech.”
Will Latta got the Panthers started after the break, tearing off a 30-yard run on the first play of the second half, which led to a 6-yard touchdown run by running back James McDaniel that gave Priory its first lead of the game at 24-18.
After a three-and-out from Stuart Hall, the Panthers added on. On the first play of their next drive, McDaniel had his third touchdown run to give Priory a commanding 32-18 lead.
McDaniel started slow but picked up in the second half. He had 132 of his 173 rushing yards in the second half and totaled five touchdowns.
Conversely, Hicks, who has been the main offensive force for Stuart Hall, did much of his damage in the first half with 154 of his game-high 228 rushing yards.
“After that terrible first half, we’re only down by two,” Sargent said. “We felt confident second half that we were going to get it done. We felt we had the energy to go four quarters and we didn’t think they could.”
Stuart Hall did not convert on any of its five two-point conversion opportunities, failing to cash in on 10 potential points.
“We didn’t punch them in,” Robinson said. “Our two-point conversions weren’t there. Just one of those days where guys weren’t playing the way they can play.”
The Knights also battled injuries with three players suffering ankle injuries, including standout running back Ethan Hankins.
While the loss is disappointing for the Knights, they still have one game remaining against Pinewood next week.
“We’ve got to finish the season strong,” Robinson said. “Just because you lose this game, it doesn’t mean you turn it in. You still got to go out, fight hard and finish the season. We still had a good season.”
SH: 8:44 – Ethan Hankins 35-yard run (conversion failed)
SH: 4:51 – Tray’von Hicks 50-yard run (conversion failed)
WP: 8:46 – Malik Reid 2-yard run (Reid run on conversion)
SH: 7:01 – Hicks 39-yard run (conversion failed)
WP: 3:11 – James McDaniel 11-yard run (McDaniel run on conversion)
WP: 10:21 – McDaniel 6-yard run (Matthew Schwab pass from Will Latta on conversion)
WP: 7:58 – McDaniel 20-yard run (McDaniel run on conversion)
SH: 9:44 – Ron Valencia 13-yard pass from Hicks (conversion failed)
WP: 8:46 – McDaniel 58-yard run (conversion failed)
SH: 7:56 – Hicks 68-yard run (conversion failed)
WP: 2:30 – McDaniel 16-yard run (Latta run on conversion)