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Pirates roll up 523 rushing yards in rout


Michael Brown (8) of Sparta Academy is tackled by Joel Pratt (14) of Pickens Academy as Hunter Booth (50) moves in to help during Friday’s game. (Photo by Staff photo | Michelle Lepianka Carter)


CARROLLTON | The Pickens Academy Pirates and their three-pronged wishbone attack bowled over Sparta Academy on Friday night, defeating the Warriors 55-16 in the season opener for both teams.

Despite all the big plays, running back Joel Pratt wasn’t surprised by his team’s success.

"When I got it, I saw my hole and I give it all to my line," Pratt said. "Every yard, I give it to my line. They gave it all that they had."

The Pirates out-gained the Warriors on the ground, 523 yards to 205. After a fight first quarter, Pickens Academy blew the game wide open, rattling off big play after big play until well into the fourth quarter.

Pratt gained 212 yards on six carries with three touchdowns. He scored on runs of 79, 75 and 58 yards.

Quarterback Josh Lewis was just as effective, gaining 232 yards with a 55-yard touchdown run while converting on seven of eight extra-point kicks.

Running back Garrett Estes contributed 57 yards on the ground and scored on runs of 3 and 5 yards.

"Our line was blocking their butts off," Lewis said. "We were just running the football."

The Pirates overcame a sloppy first half where they fumbled the balls six times, losing two. They also capitalized on Sparta Academy mistakes, with Estes blocking a punt in the fourth quarter and Cody Scott returning an interception 26 yards for a touchdown.

"I just stressed to them that the only thing that was hurting us in the first half was ourselves," Pickens Academy coach John Gartman said. "I felt like if we cleaned those things up we could be explosive in the second half, and we did."

The Warriors scored both of their touchdowns in the second quarter. The first came on a 93-yard kickoff return immediately Pickens Academy jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Later in the second quarter, with Pickens Academy leading 28-8, Sparta Academy scored again on a 1-yard run by Chance House, who also scored both of the Warriors’ two-point conversions.

"I felt like we played well," Gartman said. "I think we got some confidence from this game going into next week. We’ve got another big game against another regional opponent next week."

Pickens Academy will visit Sumter Academy next Friday.