PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Fans of Pikeville College football should never be alarmed when their team trails entering the fourth quarter. Through three periods of play this season, the Bears have held a slim 195-182 scoring advantage.
But in the fourth quarter, that figure blossoms to an 89-35 advantage, a figure that came into play on Saturday as the Bears posted 23 unanswered points – including 20 in the final frame – to knock off Shorter College 30-13.
Pikeville (7-2, 3-2 in the Mid-South East) will await a phone call on Sunday afternoon to inform them if they made the playoffs and if so, whom and where they will play a week from now. The information will be available as soon as possible on the school’s Web site at www.pc.edu.
The Hawks led 13-7 at the half and still was on top 13-10 was the period turned to the fourth. Then Michael Braxton blocked a field goal and E.J. Underwood took it 74 yards for a touchdown, turning a potential six-point deficit into a 16-13 lead with 10:04 remaining. Kyle Briscoe’s kick was blocked, but Pikeville had its first lead of the game.
Insurance scores came late, as Chip English found Frank Green on third-and-goal on a five-yard corner pattern for a 23-13 lead with 4:58 left. Calvin Joplin finished it off with a 15-yard run with 32 seconds left.
It was Joplin’s second touchdown of the game on a record-shattering afternoon for the senior. On his first score – a 44-yard run with 8:03 left in the first half, he broke four single-season records: rushing touchdowns (that made 12 on his way to 13), touchdowns (13 en route to 14), points in a season (he now has 90; the old mark was 80) and rushing yards (he gained 1,244 in only nine games this season).
That score tied the game, as the Hawks, who wrapped up their first season 2-8, took the lead with 8:02 left in the first when Fabian Daniel broke free for a 79-yard touchdown.
After Joplin’s score, Daniel scored again, this time on a two-yard run one play after punter Don Paul Branham was tackled at the two. The kick failed, however, leaving the Hawks on top 13-7 at the break.
Joplin finished the game with 159 yards on 31 carries and two scores. It was his eighth game of more than 100 yards on the ground in nine outings this season.
English, whose playing time was limited due to a pull muscle under his throwing arm, finished 18-of-29 for 172 with a touchdown and an interception. Among the six records broken on Saturday was the passing attempts mark, which English now holds with 281.
Chris Walker was 1-of-3 in the air for 30 yards and threw an interception.
The Bears tossed the football to eight different receivers, with Green, Jeff Mitchell and Jason Wolfe each catching four balls. Mitchell led the attack with 54 yards.
Daniel led Shorter with 122 yards on only 14 carries. Alex Jackson was 5-of-14 in the air for 122 and an interception. He hit Dentris Mathis three times for 54.
Punter Lukas Gonzales averaged 42.6 yards on five punts; he also hit a 36-yard field goal and sank a PAT.
Senior Matt Brown was the defensive star for Pikeville, finishing with nine tackles, five solos and four assists. He was credited with three tackles for a total loss of 10 yards.
Mohammed Abdellatif led Shorter on defense with 11 tackles, including seven solos and two for loss. In addition, he picked up a fumble and returned it 70 yards before being caught at the two by Bear wide out Frank Green.
Ryan Gloer followed with 10, seven being assists.
Bear Claws: The six school records set on Saturday were points in a season (290, breaking the old record of 273); Joplin’s 90 points, 15 touchdowns, 14 rushing touchdowns and 1,244 yards (the old mark was Leonard Moore’s 1,191 last year); and Briscoe’s new PAT record of 32, breaking his mark of 31 a year ago … Two career records were tied by punters. Briscoe has now punted 100 times, equaling All-American Jeff Williams’ mark, and Don Paul Branham, whose punts included a 50 yarder, tied Briscoe’s mark of 21 punts inside the 20.