Pine Tree returned from its bye week refreshed and rejuvenated.
The Pirates rolled up 384 yards offense and handed the Hallsville Bobcats a 32-7 beatdown here Friday night at Pirate Stadium.
The Pirates got 131-yard performance from junior halfback Tyler Sheffield and a couple rushing touchdowns from junior QB D.J. Freeman.
It was the District 9-5A DII opener for both schools. Pine Tree evens its overall slate at 2-2 and starts league play off with a big victory.
Hallsville also slides to an even 2-2 on the year and 0-1 in district action.
In addition to Sheffield’s big-night on the ground, senior wide out Gabe Adams finished with 77 yards on four receptions.
It was also the return to the lineup of Texas Tech commit J.J. Sparkman. The talented senior has been out since suffering a shoulder injury in Pine Tree’s lone scrimmage against Tyler Lee on August 23.
Sparkman managed three catches for 50 yards, including a dazzling 24-yard one handed TD catch from Corey Thomas midway of the third quarter.
The Pirates were set up nicely with a short field after a perfectly executed onside kick. Greg Kalulu had polished off a 5-play, 36-yard drive to start the second half going in over left guard from four yards out.
Kalulu’s score gave Pine Tree a 18-0 lead as the Pirates built upon their 12-0 halftime margin.
Kaleb George was ever the opportunist when he recovered the ensuing onside kick to set the table for Sparkman’s score.
After a scoreless first period, Pine Tree cashed in on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter. Freeman paired with Adams on a 30-yarder to convert 4th and 11. Freeman did the rest on a three-yard dash.
A 20-yard burst from Sheffield on 3rd and 9, was followed by a 21-yard slant from Freeman to Adams setting up the next Pirate points. Freeman, once again, did the honors from a yard out at 1:57 of the first half.
A muffed punt by Hallsville late in the third set up Pine Tree’s final tally in the fourth when Sheffield went in from six yards out on the first snap of the quarter.
The Bobcats got an admirable night of work from the district’s leading rusher Tre Fulton. The senior Fulton finished with 135 yards on 16 carries, including a 42-yard sideline sprint to the house with 3:31 to play.
This is the fourth straight victory for Pine Tree in its series with Hallsville and is the longest steak since the Pirates won the first eight to begin play.
Pine Tree travels to Mount Pleasant Friday, while Hallsville plays host to Marshall.