Pirates cruise into second round of playoffs
GOSNELL—The 4A-3 Conference Champion Gosnell Pirates (8-3, 7-0 4A-3) eased by in their 4A state playoff first round matchup with the Malvern Leopards with a 61-24 win, Friday night.
The Pirates struck first with 10:48 left in the first quarter when junior running back CaDarius Young broke away for a 27-yard touchdown run to give the Pirates a 6-0 lead. Pirate senior kicker Zach Kibler’s extra point would get blocked.
The Leopards’ next drive would end four plays later when the Pirates defense held them a chain link short of the first down marker.
Eight plays later the Pirates would score on a 22-yard pass from senior quarterback Brandon Partee to junior running back Devin Burks. Burks ran in the two-point conversion to give the Pirates a 14-0 lead with 6:23 left in the first quarter.
“First half… we make a play on a fourth down with a throw; Brandon (Partee) makes a play with his legs, great play, gets it in the air and (Devin) Burks makes a great catch,” said Pirates head coach Brandon Barbaree.
The Leopards, however, would take a little over three minutes to get on the scoreboard with a 25-yard connection from senior quarterback Demias Jimerson to junior receiver Parker Freer. Leopards’ junior kicker Michael Cervantes’ PAT was good, cutting the Pirates lead to seven.
Partee would burst through a hole to pay dirt on a 26-yard keeper, with 1:44 left in the first to give the Pirates 20-7 lead. Kibler’s PAT was good making it 21-7 Pirates.
MHS would cut the Pirates lead back to seven after a six-yard pass from Jimerson to senior receiver Jordan Hart and the Leopards PAT was good.
Burks would then get hard and fumble the ball on the GHS 41-yard line to give the Leopards back the ball with 8:29 left in the half.
The Leopards offense next three plays would fall incomplete and then the fourth play, Pirate sophomore corner JyDarian Young would intercept Jimerson’s pass and run it back to the Malvern 33.
The Pirates would turn it over on downs. However, on the Leopards first play Kibler would intercept Jimerson’s pass and give the Pirates the ball back on the MHS 35-yard line.
C. Young would run the ball two times before finally finding the end zone with a five yard gain and then a 30-yard run with 4:59 left in the half to increase the Pirates lead to 14, after a Kibler PAT was good.
Jimerson would then complete a pass to a Leopard receiver but C. Young knocked it loose and senior corner Trajan Donnerson would take it 40-yards to the house with 4:44 left in the first half. Kibler’s PAT was good giving the Pirates a 35-14 lead.
“On defense, we run to the ball… we’re never that big and we try to play physical but our physical is when we are all around the ball,” Barbaree explained. “ So good things happen when you’re around (the ball) and Trajan Donnerson scores. The ball just happened to be there and he scooped it up and took it to the house. So it was big for us.”
The Leopards would connect on a field goal with 2.1 seconds before half to trail 35-17.
C. Young would dash 29-yards for a Pirate touchdown to start out the second half. Kibler’s PAT was good, giving the Pirates a 42-17 lead with 9:13 left in the third.
With 8:30 left in the third, Jimerson would be intercepted by senior linebacker Hunter Jolly.
“Tremendous effort (by the defense). We made some mistakes early and a quarterback (Damias Jimerson) like that you are not going to completely shut out. He’s a 4.5 (speed) kid, he can fly. He’s got great hips,” Barbaree explained. “I thought our little defensive line just kept plugging along and our linebackers scraped pretty well and then our secondary and linebackers made plays when they had a shot and the ball was in the air. So just tremendous effort and playing aggressive pays off.”
Three plays later J. Young would get in from 16-yards out giving the Pirates a 41 point lead. Kibler’s PAT was good to increase the lead to 42 with 7:28 left in the third.
Two drives later J. Young would bust down the sideline for a 61-yard touchdown run with 3:29 left in the third giving the Pirates a 55-17 lead.
With the start of the fourth quarter and the mercy clock rolling, Barbaree would sub in the second group and three plays later sophomore Darrion Bester would burst through a hole for a 43-yard touchdown run with 9:22 left in the game. Kibler’s PAT was no good leaving the Pirates score at 61-17.
The Leopards weren’t done yet, however, as Jimerson found sophomore receiver Nick Voss for an eight- yard touchdown with 4:49 left. The Leopard PAT was good to bring the Pirates to a 61-24 victory in round one of the 4A state playoffs.
The Young brothers, CaDarius and JyDarian, led the way for the Pirates with 267 yards combined, 139 and 128, respectively. The Young brothers also accounted for five of the Pirates nine touchdowns.
The Pirates would rush for 399 yards and seven touchdowns. CaDarius Young led the way with 139 yards rushing.
Total offense for the Pirates was 421 yards and eight touchdowns.
“All of our runners ran tremendously hard. I think our line got off the ball, just watching our offensive line… And I think our guys took advantage at what was there and did what they were supposed to do,” said Barbaree.
The Pirates will look to host the Heber Springs Panthers (8-3, 6-1 4A-2) next Friday night with kickoff at 7 p.m.
The Panthers are a third seed coming out of the 4A-2 and got by the Gravette Lions in the first round of the 4A state playoffs. The Lions were the third seed in the 4A-1.
Barbaree said the Panthers are well-coached and remind him of the Pocahontas Redskins.
“Well-coached. Great coach, Coach Gowen’s a great, great football coach. Great mind,” Barbaree said. “ They remind me a lot of Pocahontas. I mean that’s the same type of kids. They’re going to do things right. They’re going to be fundamentally sound.“
Barbaree also mentioned that Heber Springs has a great quarterback.
“They got a tremendous quarterback, as well. I don’t know his name yet, but I’ve heard he’s really good athletically,” said Barbaree. “ So, they will give us some problems but we will prepare like we do every week.”