Cats defense leads way in 40-14 win

Boyd-Pilot Point box score

By Richard Greene

Managing Editor

     Boyd’s Fino Cardona sliced through the Pilot Point defense, carrying the ball six straight times on his way to a go-ahead touchdown on the Yellowjackets’ first possession.

     That touchdown served as a wake-up call to a Pilot Point defense that dominated the rest of the night. Pilot Point piled up 10 sacks and held Boyd to 118 yards on its final nine drives in a 40-14 homecoming victory Friday at Massey Stadium.

     “After that first drive, we thought they may be for real,” said Pilot Point defensive lineman John Groff. “We then came together and played Pilot Point defense.”

     Groff and the his teammates on the defensive line — Jonah Fritz, Rigoberto Benavidez and Luke Greenwood — lived in the Boyd backfield and were constantly draped around Boyd sophomore quarterback Clay Barnett. Boyd lost 59 yards on the 10 sacks.

     “We’ve got good athletes up front,” said Pilot Point coach Rob Best. “You better find a way to block them. We’re pretty good one-on-one.”

     Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins said his squad never found a way to block Pilot Point up front outside of the opening 51-yard drive that ended with Cardona’s 2-yard scoring run and the nine-play drive just before the half. Barnett connected with a Dalton Stidham for a 5-yard touchdown pass to bring Boyd within 20, 34-14, at halftime.

     Boyd never found the end zone in the second half, turning the ball over once and giving up another five sacks.

     “We just couldn’t block them up front,” Hopkins said. “Number 10 [Groff] was eating us alive. Even when we had a chance to make a play, we couldn’t keep them blocked. They killed us up front.”

     The Pilot Point offense behind Travis Garrett was equally as impressive. Garrett, who had led fourth-quarter comebacks the past two weeks, took the drama out of the game in the first half with three touchdown passes and another one rushing.

     Pilot Point scored on all five of its first-half possessions.

     Garrett 2-yard dash to pay dirt capped a 14-play drive for Pilot Point to open the game. But after missed extra point and Boyd’s quick response on the legs of Cardona, Pilot Point suddenly was behind 7-6.

     After the Pilot Point defense forced a three-and-out, Garrett marched the Bearcats on an 11-play, 62-yard drive. Garrett capped the drive by picking up a fumbled snap, rolling to the right and connecting with Jamaal Anderson in the corner of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown.

     DaCoven Bailey extended the Pilot Point lead to 20-7 with a 7-yard touchdown run. He then hauled in touchdown receptions of five and 43 yards from Garrett to put Pilot Point up 34-7 with 1:35 left in the first half.

     Bailey finished with five catches for 112 yards.

     Garrett added his fourth touchdown throw of the evening, connecting with Creed Bright for 51 yards in the third quarter. Garrett threw for 252 yards, completing 12 of his 15 attempts with two interceptions. He added 77 yards on the ground.

     With the victory, Pilot Point moved to 2-0 in District 5-2A Division I and earned a bit a revenge from a loss last year to Boyd that kept them out of the playoffs.

     “We talked about that. We tied with them but lost out on the head to head tiebreaker,” Best said. “We feel good at 2-0 and are in a good position. But there’s still four more to play.”