PAYETTE — On Friday, September 3, the New Plymouth Pilgrims traveled to Payette High School to take on the Pirates for Friday night football. The Pilgrims managed to win their season opener, and were able to carry their momentum into the next game, where they were able to come out with a close victory over the Pirates, 24-16. The Pilgrims got the ball in the fourth quarter, and managed to form a scoring drive when senior Bailey Hite (88) was able to score on a 19 yard run, with 1:49 left on the clock.

Head coach Dallan Rupp had mentioned that, “I was happy to get the ball back with the amount of time that we had on the clock. I believe there was around seven minutes to go, and knew that if we had a clean drive, no penalties or busted plays we would score.”

With that mentality, the Pilgrims were able to take the ball down for a game winning touchdown. Although, the defense still had to step up to stop the Pirates offense. They were able to stand their ground to earn the win in the end.

The first quarter was a pretty even matchup, as both teams remained scoreless for the quarter. Things picked up early in the second quarter when Payette senior Zander Allen (3) caught a 23 yard touchdown pass from junior Abe Rodriguez (8), Pirates 7-0. Later in the second quarter, the Pirates kicker #20 managed to make a deep 41 yard field goal, Pirates 10-0. The second half came to a conclusion shortly after Pilgrims senior Casey Arritola (1) completed a 37 yard touchdown pass to junior Connor Hawker (11) with 1:16 left in the half. It was followed by a two point conversion run from Hite, Pirates 10-8.

The second half remained an even matchup until halfway through the third quarter when A. Rodriguez was able to complete a 15 yard touchdown pass to Allen, Pirates 16-8. The Pilgrims were able to answer back with a touchdown of their own, late in the third quarter. Pilgrims sophomore Skyler Rodriguez (3) managed to score on a 16 yard touchdown run. After the two point conversion was completed with a run by Hite, the game was brought to a tie game going into the fourth quarter, even 16-16.

The Pilgrims were able to come out of the game with the victory after being able to stop the Payette offense, and drive the team down the field for the game winning touchdown, as mentioned earlier.

Coach Rupp acknowledged his team’s perseverance by stating, “We responded well after being down. We kept our composure, and did not lose confidence in each other or what we do,” as he continued to mention, “We struggled to remember responsibilities and assignments early on in the game, on both sides of the ball. At halftime we simplified and saw an improvement… We will need to improve our execution. Which will mean an increased focus and attention to detail, and better communication between ourselves.”

The game’s passing leaders are Pirates A. Rodriguez, who completed 8-18 for 168 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and Pilgrims Arritola, who completed 2-3 for 66 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The rushing leaders are Pilgrims S. Rodriguez, Hite, and Pirates Gabe Ramos (34). Pilgrims S. Rodriguez had 15 carries for 76 yards with one touchdown, whereas Pilgrims Hite had 10 carries for 57 yards with one touchdown. Pirates Ramos had 13 carries for 52 yards.

The receiving leaders of the game are Pilgrims Hawker and Pirates Allen. Hawker managed 66 receiving yards on two catches. Additionally, Allen gained 66 receiving yards on five catches.

Defensively, Pilgrims junior Zack Conlee (15) and junior Cole Vian (4) managed to get an interception during Friday night’s game. In relation, Pirates #55 managed to earn an interception, as well.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, September 10, the Pirates will face their next challenge against Marsing for an away game, whereas New Plymouth will travel to take on McCall.

“McCall might be the toughest team we play this year. It will be a great test for us and we are looking forward to the challenge. It will give a chance to see where we are as a team and what we need to do to improve,” stated Coach Rupp about the upcoming game versus McCall.

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