Patriot Sports Media
It certainly wasn't the start the Patriots were hoping for on Friday night. After deferring the ball until the second half, Pace was hoping to make a statement by beginning with a defensive stand, but it didn't take long for Choctaw to get on the board.
A quick touchdown put the Patriots behind 7-0. At this point, the high-powered Pace offense was chomping at the bit to get on the field and drive the ball down the field. That didn't happen.
Then ensuing kickoff led to Caleb Vincent returning the ball, weaving through defenders, only to be stripped of the ball and giving Choctaw great field position in Patriot territory. Several plays later, the Indians were up 14-0 and the Pace offense had not even seen the field.
But great stories usually start by putting the hero in a precarious position, leaving the audience to wonder how he is going to overcome all the odds.
Pace stormed back on the running ability of Damean Bivins and some misdirection by Kason Lincke. A quick strike hitting Caleb Buckner on a 10 yard out route for a large gain set up the Patriots in positive territory. Bivins capitalized on the drive with a touchdown.
Great stories also have a great supporting cast. Going into halftime, the Pace offense was slowed to a halt leading to a decision on 4th down. Go for it with little time left, or kick a 42 yard field goal. Blake Bullock stepped up to the challenge and booted the ball through for three. Choctaw led the Patriots 21-17 at the half.
After some halt-time adjustments and motivation, Pace stormed back to add more points on the board; however, it was the defense that really made improvements. Choctaw was only able to score one more touchdown but only because they returned a kickoff 80 yards to set them up on the 15 yard line. Even then, the Patriots had a massive goal-line stand that was only broken on a 4th and goal on the 1-foot line. But that was the last of the Indians' scoring for the game.
Both Bivins and backup running-back Tyler Hunter would add a pair of rushing touchdowns to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Pace won 45-28.
The 4-1 Patriots once again defend their home turf on September 28 when the 5-0 Raiders of Navarre come to town for their first district game of the season.