There’s little chance the Pleasure Ridge Park High School will be home at any point of the postseason, which opens next week. So the host Panthers ended the regular season Friday night with a bang, routing Central, 42-3.
“What was the final score? 42-3, men. Central teams don’t get beat like that,” Central coach Ty Scroggins said as they exited the locker room.
They got beat like that on this particular Friday night, though. From its defense not allowing a touchdown, to its offense gaining nearly 500 yards, to Evan Kowadla and the special teams pinning the Yellowjackets (5-5) deep in their own end of the field time and time again, PRP (6-4) hit on all cylinders.
“At the end of the day, we had guys step up and play well,” PRP coach Jason Hiser said. “We’ve got some dangerous guys and we’ve got some things to work on as we get ready for the playoffs.”
The Panthers looked ready Friday against a team which usually shows up in the postseason. The last few times PRP has beaten Central, the Yellowjackets have responded by making a run to the state final.
Central quarterback James Simpson spent night scrambling against the Panthers, who sacked him five times, intercepted him once and broke up eight of his 30 pass attempts – four on one possession alone.
“It felt good. I know I ain’t had a sack in like three weeks because I haven’t been blitzing a lot,” said PRP linebacker Dayon Pulliam, who took down the quarterback twice Friday night.
PRP junior quarterback B.J. Robinson was 11-for-18 passing for 223 yards and three touchdowns while being intercepted once. He kept his first completion in the family, hitting senior and older cousin Montae Robinson for a 66-yard touchdown less than three minutes into the game. B.J. Robinson added an 11-yard strike to tight end Garrett Lawrence later in the quarter and ended his night with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Shannon Bishop late in the third quarter as the Panthers started to pull away.
B.J. Robinson said the Panthers were still fuming from their loss to rival DuPont Manual before the bye week, which fueled their focus and practice heading into their showdown with the Yellowjackets.
“This was our seniors’ last game and they were about to give it their all. You can’t lose on Senior Night,” Robinson said. “You can’t let them go out like that.”
Central, which rested running back Corey Johnson, got a 32-yard field goal by Sebastian Francisco with 8:14 left in the third quarter.
Even PRP’s reserves got into the act as backup quarterback Nick Elder’s screen pass to Montae Robinson turned into an 84-touchdown. Scroggins said it was one of the longest plays from scrimmage he has given up as Central’s coach.
“Nobody’s ever gone 85 yards on us from the offensive line,” Scroggins said. “That’s just all effort and we didn’t ready to bring the fight.”
PRP running back Aaron Kinnebrew found paydirt on a nine-yard run in the final two minutes to put the mercy-rule running clock into effect.
PRP has a long road trip next week, traveling to far western Kentucky to face McCracken County. Central will be home, hosting Garrard County.
Like PRP learned from its loss to Manual, Scroggins hopes the Yellowjackets learn from this defeat.
“We have Garrard County and they’re pretty physical and they’re going to run the ball right at us like they did tonight,” Scroggins said. “If we don’t tackle better than what we did, this will be the first year we’re out of the playoffs in the first round. But hopefully this is a wake-up call.
“I told them in there, they gave you everything you wanted,” Scroggins added. “You wanted to get your butt whipped tonight and that’s exactly what happened.”