Pine Tree + Tyler Lee End Scrimmage in Tie
LONGVIEW -- A game that ends in a tie is a rarity these days.
During the regular season, it's near impossible with overtime. But the regular season is still a week away in Texas.
After trailing the entire live portion of a two-quarter scrimmage against Pine Tree on Friday, Tyler Lee could take the lead after LaDarius Wickware's rushing touchdown. It needed only to convert the PAT. The snap was mishandled and the play blown dead as the likelihood that either team would be declared winner quickly diminished.
Pine Tree had a few remaining seconds, but failed to score as the scrimmage ended in a 20-20 tie.
"It's like kissing a pig," coach Kurt Traylor said. "Just learn from it. That's a teachable moment. It'll be fixed. We've got a fullback who was in there every snap and was tired. We'll kick some field goals in practice when we're tired now. I'd love to win it 21-20, but it is what it is."
Pine Tree jumped out to an early lead after a Chris Hollis interception set up a 16-yard touchdown run from Jayden Smith. The Pirates later struck again when Corey Thomas found Gabe Nelson for a 36-yard touchdown to go up 14-0.
Nelson would finish as the star of the scrimmage, making several key plays both on the ground and as a receiver. With the known commodities of Keshon Williams and JJ Sparkman, Nelson emerged as a potential third option for the Pirates in 2018.
"Gabe Nelson is a football player," coach Kerry Lane said. "It doesn't matter where you put him on the field. He can play. He's a physical kid and tough kid."
Lane wouldn't say whether Nelson's play was enough to earn a starting role, but one would think he'll at least see the field next Friday when the Pirates play Bullard.
"I hope I did (enough to secure a starting spot)," Nelson said. "There's a lot of good running backs."
The Red Raiders nearly went the quarter without scoring until Mark Patton, a transfer from Malakofff, hit Te'Vion Massey in the end zone with 22 seconds remaining. That allowed Tyler Lee to relax and settle into its offense in the next quarter.
Patton recovered admirably, and though he wouldn't throw another touchdown, he made several key throws to get the Red Raiders back in the game. With the quarterback battle still ongoing between Patton and Will Landes, Traylor said he was proud of the way Patton responded.
"I loved the way Mark was steady when he made mistakes," Traylor said. "He threw an interception and he bounced back. Our offense is going to be surrounded around him."
Pine Tree also played two quarterbacks in Corey Thomas and DJ Freeman. Both made big plays, and Thomas even scored on a quarterback keeper that went 24 yards.
"I thought they both had better poise as we went on," Lane said. "They both made pretty good reads. They both also played like guys who haven't played a lot of varsity football. A couple of times they made their minds up early and did some things young quarterbacks do."
Tyler Lee will open its season at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium against Marshall. The Pirates will face Bullard at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Longview.