10/03/09 — Pender scores late, snaps Kenan's win streak in conference play

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Pender scores late, snaps Kenan's win streak in conference play

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 3, 2009 11:05 PM

WARSAW -- Leaning against the Tiger Den in light rainfall, fourth-year James Kenan head football coach Ken Avent Jr. didn't mince any words.

"They whupped our tail ... beat us all night," he said.

And the Tigers nearly escaped.

Shaq Hooper scored the game-winning touchdown in the final 88 seconds to lift unbeaten Pender to a 14-10 victory in Tri-County 1-A Conference action at Bill Taylor Field. The loss snapped James Kenan's 16-game win streak against league opposition.

"You look up (at the scoreboard) with three or four minutes to go, and you've got a very good chance of winning it, so you (feel) very fortunate to be as close as it was," said Avent Jr.

Close, indeed.

The Patriots (5-0, 2-0 Tri-County) dominated the 48-minute affair, but couldn't deliver the knockout punch. The Tigers' defense recorded two first-half interceptions to halt scoring drives and held firm on two fourth-down, short-yardage stops in the fourth quarter.

Pender owned a decisive 414-214 edge in total offense and ran 71 offensive plays compared to 39 for James Kenan.

"They're a good team and gave us problems on both sides of the ball," said Avent. "But we made some plays on defense at some crucial times and gave ourselves a chance to win it at the end. That's what you try to do and we almost did."

Kenan's next-to-last offensive possession ended when quarterback Dasmine Smith slipped down as he dropped back to pass. Pender took over at its 40-yard line and Collins directed the game-winning, 31/2-minute scoring drive.

On third-and-4 inside Tiger territory, Javon Powell took the handoff from quarterback Hynef Collins and threw an option pass to Paxton Lee. Lee, who had a step on his defender, caught the ball at the Kenan 9-yard line.

Two plays later, Hooper sealed the comeback with his 8-yard TD romp.

"We'd run the option well all night and earlier (in the game) the play was there and we didn't get a smooth ride with our fullback ... it was shaky," said Pender coach Tom Eanes. "It was a great call and it worked."

Avent Jr. said it was "payback."

Earlier in the half, the Tigers' Jonathan Webster turned a half-back option pass from Kendric Faison into a 78-yard touchdown. Carlos Martinez's PAT gave Kenan a 10-7 advantage heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The Patriots seized a 7-0 lead before halftime on Hooper's 26-yard scoring strike from quarterback Hynef Collins, who accounted for 140 of Pender's offensive output. Backfield mates Powell and Montreal McAllister rushed for 89 and 105 yards, respectively.

The Tigers (3-3, 1-1) avoided the shutout on sophomore kicker Jeffrey Bautista's 23-yard field goal midway through the third quarter.