Coming off a bye week, the well-rested Pine Forest Eagles got their second victory in District 1-6A at Washington High, beating the Wildcats 52-21.
Pine Forest kicked off the scoring on its first drive, taking an early 7-0 lead.
On the Eagles next possession, quarterback Xavier Salsbury was intercepted by Brandon Yasurek, who returned it 13 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:43 remaining in the first quarter.
“We play as a team, and we were able to bounce back from a couple mistakes and perform as a team,” Saulsbury said.
Pine Forest used two consecutive onside kick recoveries to push their lead to 28-7 in the second quarter, keeping the Wildcats offense on the sidelines.
The winless Wildcats, however, did not go away. Gaining momentum by recovering an onside kick of their own, the Wildcats’ offense found life with back-to-back touchdown passes from Garrett Foley to bring the score within seven before the half.
Pine Forest’s defense secured the victory by shutting out the Wildcats in the second half. Pine Forest used its multiple offensive weapons effectively, with Saulsberry and running backs Jaden Gardner and Ladarius Wiggins all finding the end zone.
With Escambia’s victory over Tate, Pine Forest clinched a playoff spot for District 1-6A.
“I heard Tate lost to Escambia, so we are officially in the playoffs. We have to play for home field advantage now,” Pine Forest coach Jerry Pollard said.
Pine Forest will face consecutive tests moving forward as they travel to Niceville on Friday and then host Tate the following week.