[By Jeff Henderson, Special to ETSN.fm]

The Pine Tree Pirates overcame a seven-point deficit at the half to beat the Lindale Eagles, 28-21, on Friday night at Pirate Stadium.

Lindale lost several starters to injury last week at Hallsville, including senior running back Trey Acy and senior quarterback Josiah Johnson. Although the Eagles rallied, showing determination early, Pine Tree’s Slot-T offense proved more effective at controlling the ball, putting up 382 total yards to Lindale’s 210 total yards.

Lindale had a 21-14 lead at halftime, but the second half was all Pine Tree, with both teams using their running game to compress the game. The strategy worked more to Pine Tree’s benefit as it churned up yards on the ground. Given the success of Pine Tree's option running game, Lindale brought its safeties up. That proved fatal, as with 2:43 seconds left in the third quarter, Oden worked play-action magic on a 38-yard strike to Mason Hayes to tie the game at 21.

After another volley of time-eating series on the ground between the two teams, Pine Tree bottled lightning on a textbook option-pitch from Oden to Hawkins, who hit the right corner, received crucial blocks from his teammates and outran Lindale defenders 60 yards to the end zone for the go-ahead 28-21 score with 10:51 left in the game.

Lindale tried repeatedly to regain the lead. However, it was unable to do so as Pine Tree’s adjusted effectively to the Eagles’ offensive changes, and Pine Tree was able to extend long drives that yielded no points, but consumed chunks of time and eventually the win.

Lindale’s Aaron Jackson was a crucial part of its game plan a second week in a row, as he rumbled for 93 yards on 15 carries, nearly all of Lindale’s rushing yardage. Pine Tree had three main rushers, running backs Quay Ward inside and Victor Hawkins at the edges, putting up 64 yards and 103 yards, respectively.

Quarterback Jake Oden, who also rushed for 64 yards, was 5 of 10 passing for 149 yards and a touchdown. Lindale’s quarterback, junior Cody Slice, went 11 of 24 for 101 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Lindale hit first with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Slice to Kolton Pierce with 6:5 left in the first quarter. On the Pine Tree's ensuing drive, Lindale linebacker Dee Jackson scooped up a bobbled snap by Oden and rumbled for a 36-yard touchdown to put Lindale up 14-0 early.

Lindale looked to score again in the second quarter after a fake punt and 6-yard run by Luc Swimberghe resulted in a first down. But, less than a minute later, Pine Tree’s Eddie Calico intercepted a Slice pass and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown to cut Lindale's lead to seven.

The celebration was short-lived, as on the ensuing kickoff Dee Jackson took it back 88 yards for a Lindale touchdown, increasing the Eagles’ lead back to 14.

At 5:58 left in the quarter, Pine Tree’s Oden ran play-action and caught the Lindale secondary napping, torching them with a 52-yard pass to Jalen Patterson to the 2-yard line. The Pirates took full advantage the following play with a 2-yard touchdown keeper by Oden faking the pitch to the outside and cutting up to score and cut Lindale's halftime lead to 21-14.