Pearce leads Lions over Lowndes
ALABASTER – When Drew Davis, the Lions’ leading rusher, left the game injured with Kingwood trailing 14-0, the rest of the team knew they would have to step up to win.
After a rough first half, Kingwood (5-3, 3-2) managed to do just that, winning 28-21 at home Friday against Lowndes Academy (5-3, 3-2), with quarterback Nathan Pearce leading the way.
Pearce ran for a first down to put the Lions inside the 5-yard-line to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Eric Marshall.
With 20 seconds remaining in the first half, Pearce found Nathan Allen on a 25-yard pass to knot the score at 14-14.
The Lions struggled repeatedly in the first half with fumbles and interceptions, with five first half drives ending in turnovers.
“It seemed like we were trying to give the game away or something,” said Lions head coach Jerry Stearns, adding the key to turning things around was to make sure the players didn’t panic when they fell behind and stayed focused on the game plan.
Stearns also said blocking adjustments in the second half gave Pearce a better pocket, giving him an opportunity to make several big plays.
Marshall said when the team fell behind and realized they were missing one of their best players, they looked around and gave themselves a gut check.
“We really rely on (Davis),” Marshall said, “and once he left, we were like, ‘this is for Drew,’ and we really stepped it up.”
Marshall helped shoulder the rushing load without Davis, and in the second half, improved blocking helped Marshall score an early third-quarter touchdown. However, Lowndes answered on a short run to tie the game at 21-21.
From there Pearce went back to work.
After setting up Marshall’s touchdown with passes to Allen and Justin Dickinson, Pearce put Kingwood ahead for good with a 42-yard strike to Dickinson with 4:11 left in the game.
Pearce ended up 14-of-25 for 152 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Pearce said the blocking up front was what made all the difference for the passing game, and the team has been getting off to a slow start all season and getting better as games go on.
“We’ve always been a second half team,” Pearce said. “The line really came together in the second half and did a great job.”
Kingwood hosts Evangel Christian Friday for homecoming and can secure a playoff berth with a win.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misidentified the scorer of Kingwood’s first and fourth touchdowns and misidentified Kingwood’s quarterback Nathan Pearce and his number of interceptions.