Pirates come up short in season opener
NEWPORT — The Gosnell Pirates opened the season with a hard-fought, 15-8 loss to host Newport, Friday night.
Gosnell sophomore Brian Denkins had a breakout game in his first with the varsity team.
Denkins rushed for an eye-popping 177 yards on 11 carries, including an 82-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.
But the Pirates came up short in the clash of 3-4A and 3-3A conference powers.
Gosnell had a shot for one final drive with 39 seconds left in the game, after Newport missed a 23-yard field goal attempt.
Eighty yards away from the end zone, Gosnell quarterback Brandon Partee misfired on the first two passes as Newport played prevent defense. Then, Partee was sacked on third down, coming out of the game with an apparent injury with 12 seconds to play. GHS star running back Cadarius Young was also injured earlier in the game.
Brett Barbaree entered at QB for the final play, finding Trajan Donnerson for an 18-yard gain as the horn sounded.
Gosnell had just seven first downs on the evening, and most of its offense came from long runs by Denkins.
On third-and-10, Denkins broke an 82-yard TD run with 1:10 left in the third quarter. Jydarian Young ran in the two-point conversion to give Gosnell its only lead, 8-7.
Newport answered with a back-breaking drive to regain the momentum. With 11:18 left, Cash Forrester scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak. Then, Forrester found Oshae Pruitt on the two-point conversion to give Newport a 15-8 lead. The answer capped a six-play, 47-yard drive.
Denkins followed with a 28-yard run on the ensuing series, as Gosnell drove to the Newport 27. However, Gosnell turned it over on downs — one of a few scoreless possessions that ended deep in Greyhound territory.
Gosnell couldn’t take advantage of its first three trips to the red zone, coming up short each time.
The Pirate defense matched Newport’s effort on the evening, forcing a fumble on the first play of the third quarter and giving it to the offense at the Newport 26 at the 11:47 mark.
However, four plays later the Pirates turned it over on downs to keep the score 7-0, Newport.
The first half was equally hard-fought between the two teams.
Newport got on the scoreboard first after the first GHS turnover of the season.
Going back to pass, Partee fumbled in the red zone with 7:02 left in the first quarter.
Five plays later, Newport capped the 18-yard drive with the only score of the first half. Forrester hit Pruitt on a four-yard TD toss with 4:44 left in the opening quarter, and the PAT made it 7-0.
The Pirates had their chances to score in the first half, driving inside the Newport 5 twice in the first 24 minutes.
However, Newport stopped the Pirates on downs both times — once with 48 seconds left in the first quarter and the other with 4:42 to go in the second period.
Gosnell’s big offensive play of the half was a 59-yard run by Denkins, the Pirates’ only first down of the first quarter and one of just three in the first half against the speedy Greyhounds.
Denkins’ run gave Gosnell a first-and-goal at the Greyhound 8, though GHS turned it over on downs four plays later.
The Pirate defense also played well in the first two quarters, stopping Newport on downs at the NHS 38 with 9:07 left in the second quarter.
Gosnell later drove to the Newport 4 before turning it over on downs.
Newport’s bruising back Joe Broadus rushed for 155 yards to lead the Greyhounds.
Gosnell will play at rival Osceola on Friday night.