Pine Tree blew open a tie game with a second-half onslaught of big plays to defeat Whitehouse 27-14 Friday at Pirate Stadium.
The loss was the first for Whitehouse (7-1), which dropped to 4-1 in District 9-5A Division II. Pine Tree bounced back from last week’s loss to Texas High and is now 6-1-1 and 4-1.
Pine Tree senior quarter DJ Freeman completed TD passes of 70 and 64 yards in the second half with tailback Tyler Sheffield scoring on a 53-yard run in the second half. Freeman’s 64-yard strike to Camden McEntire gave the Pirates a 27-14 lead with 6:47 to play.
Whitehouse tried to rally, but was denied on fourth and short at the Pine Tree 31 to effectively end the game.
Wildcats quarterback Joey Conflitti passed for 75 yards and also rushed for a touchdown. Matthew Gooden rushed for 110 yards and a score with Mikevic Hall rushing for 60 yards.
Sheffield and Freeman led Pine Tree’s ground attack with Freeman totaling 57 and Sheffield racking up 122.
The score was tied 7-7 at halftime with Whitehouse taking possession first.
The Wildcats were held to 3 and out.
On the first play from scrimmage, Freeman dropped back and fired a quick slant to Keelan Turner, who outraced everyone to the end zone for a 70-yard score and 14-7 lead.
Whitehouse tried to respond, but was eventually stopped on fourth down at the Pirates 36.
Four plays later, Sheffield broke loose for a 53-yard TD run and 21-7 lead with 6:23 to play.
Whitehouse needed an answer and delivered a 15-play drive that was capped by Conflitti scoring on a 3-yard keeper on fourth and goal.
The drive took a sizeable chunk of the fourth quarter off the clock.
Pine Tree needed one play to reestablish its two-score advantage with Freeman connecting with McEntire to put the Pirates in charge to stay.
Whitehouse started fast and looked to be in control in the first quarter.
The Wildcats stuffed Pine Tree’s first three offensive plays to force a punt. Trevor Theiring received the kick near midfield and returned it all the way to the Pine Tree 19. On first down, Conflitti connected with DeCarlton Wilson for 17 yards. This set Whitehouse up at the Pine Tree goal line with Gooden crashing in for a 1-yard TD and 7-0 lead.
Whitehouse delivered another 3 and out on defense to get its offense back on the field. The Wildcats quickly drove from their own 23 to Pine Tree’s 34, helped by a 31-yard run from Gooden. But on third and 2, Gooden was held to 1 yard and confusion caused an incomplete pass on 4th and 1.
Despite getting the turnover on downs, Pine Tree could not solve the Wildcats defensive front, going 3 and out again.
This time the Pirates answered in kind, stuffing Whitehouse on third and 1 to force a punt.
Freeman finally found some space and broke loose on first down for a 23-yard run. It was helped by an additional 15-yard penalty by Whitehouse to give Pine Tree its best field position of the night at the Wildcats 39. A jet sweep by Keelan Turner netted 36 yards and set up a 3-yard touchdown blast up the middle by Jayden Smith to make it 7-7 with 40 seconds left in the first quarter.
Both teams had opportunities to add to their tally in the second quarter, but neither took advantage to make it 7-7 at halftime.