Pirates beat Westside in dramatic fashion to secure back-to-back league titles
JONESBORO— The Gosnell Pirates walked away on Friday with their second consecutive 4A-3 Conference title after a nail-bitting, 26-24 victory over the Westside Warriors.
With four seconds remaining, the Pirates were 19 yards away from securing the 4A-3 conference title.
Enough time for one last play, Pirates senior quarterback Brandon Partee watched for his receiver to get open, as he trailed the Warriors. Partee scanned the field and would find his classmate Trajan Donnerson for a touchdown and the win.
As time expired, Donnerson bobbled the ball before coming down and securing it, as the referee signalled touchdown and the Pirates bench swarmed over Donnerson in joy over a hard-fought victory and back-to-back conference titles.
The Warriors struck first with a field goal to go up 3-0 on the Pirates with 7:14 left in the first quarter. The field goal came after Pirates junior running back CaDarius Young fumbled on his own 27 yard line.
The Warriors would strike again with 4:09 left in the half with a 12-yard run by Kody Anderson.
However, the Pirates would strike back less than a minute later when Partee found sophomore receiver Brian Denkins with a 27-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown pass was set up by a 43-yard run by Young.
After the touchdown reception by Denkins, senior kicker Zach Kibler’s PAT was no good to keep the Warriors lead at four. The score at half was 10-6, Warriors. Pirates sophomore running back JyDarian Young would not be denied coming out of halftime when he shedded tacklers to get in from 19 yards out and give the Pirates their first lead on the night ,12-10. Kibler’s PAT was good to boost the lead to 13-10. At the 1:38 mark, Warriors junior quarterback Will Yearta would find senior Will Mobley for a 27-yard touchdown pass to regain the lead, 17-13.
The Pirates defense later came up big with a huge stop on their own one yard with 3:55 left in game.
The Pirates offense would only take a minute off the clock and would be forced to punt the ball back to the Warriors.
With nearly two minutes left in the game, the Pirates trailed by four; however, Partee would find his favorite target on the night, Trajan Donnerson, for a 91-yard touchdown pass to give the Pirates a 19-17 lead with 2:08 left in game. Kibler’s PAT was good to increase the lead to three points.
The Warriors would strike back with less than 45 seconds after getting the ball on a 56-yard run by sophomore running back Logan McPherson, whic would give the Warriors a 24-20 lead.
Fortunately, the Warriors left the Pirates 1:17 to work with. Pirates head coach Brandon Barbaree and his Pirates offense had enough time to drive 68 yards. Partee completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Donnerson with the time expiring.
"It's the one time in my career where a penalty is okay,” Barbaree said of his team’s penalty while celebrating the win. ‘We won the game. It was pure excitement, it wasn't to rub it in anyones face. A kid makes an outstanding play and I want our kids to go and enjoy the winning play and just the excitement of the game is over."
Former Pirate and now Warriors senior running back Cody Watson would rush for 37 yards on the night.
Leading the way for the Pirates rushing attack was C. Young with 50 yards out of the Pirates’ 125 total rushing yards. Partee would finish the night going 7 for 14 passing with 188 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 29 yards on the ground.
" Obviously, a three year starter... just the confidence to go out there and make plays. A lot of quarterbacks don’t in this league. But he went out there calm under pressure and the throw was unbelieveable," Barbaree explained. "He buys time and lets Trajan (Donnerson) clear out and throws it over the top for a touchdown. Heck of a play and a heck of a player for us."
|What was running through Partee’s mind in the final seconds?|
"Victory," says Partee.
" I had a lot of confidence. I know (Partee) was going to give it to me," added Donnerson.
Partee credits his offensive line and says that win was for Gosnell.
"It's just all for the hometown. I give all the credit to the offensive line, they gave me the time I needed to be back there," Partee said. "We started 0-3 on the season and people doubted us, we picked it back up."
On his 18th birthday Donnerson had the game of his life with two touchdowns — 91 and 19, respectively — and added 144 yards on the night.
"I was excited," says Donnerson. " I had God on my mind."
"Just awesome," Barbaree said. "(Donnerson) finally just going to make plays. We see it every day in practice. He's getting better and confident. He wants the ball now and doesn't shy away from it. He looked like a big-time player tonight and he's done it for the last few games."
The no-quite attitude by the Pirates excited Barbaree after going down 10-0 early.
"The no-quit, no-surrender was unbelievable," says Barbaree. "It was a tough one. Westside is a heck of a football team. Real physical.
“We just had to make plays... And thank God for Trajan Donnerson for being a ball player tonight."
The Pirates will face the Harrisburg Hornets on Thursday night in the regular season finale.