MINT HILL, NC – Going into Friday’s game, which was moved to Rocky River because of field conditions at Independence, the Patriots rallied late in the game to take a 15-9 win over the East Mecklenburg Eagles in a Southwestern 4A contest.
East Meck took the opening kick-off and returned the ball to its own 30-yard line. The Eagles drove down to Indy’s 28-yard line and attempted a pass to the end zone but Indy’s Elijah Puranda made the interception and returned the ball to Indy’s six-yard line. Neither team could mount any offense until Indy’s Arnold Taylor completed a pass to Bryson Tisdale down to East Meck’s 42-yard line. Running back Elijah Puranda moved Indy down to the eight-yard line making it first and goal. With 1:43 left in the quarter, Indy scored but the play was called back due to a penalty called on the Patriots. The penalty moved the ball back to the 13-yard line. Unable to get back into the end zone Indy attempted a field goal which was no good and the period ended in a scoreless tie. With 5:31 left in the second quarter, the Eagles scored on a pass play. Indy blocked the extra point kick which gave East Meck a 6-0 lead.
Following a good kick-off return and a penalty for a late hit, Indy took over on the Eagles 28-yard line. With 4:52 showing on the clock, Indy’s Amari Hakeem ran around the right side for the touchdown which was called back on an offensive holding call. After the Patriots’ penalty, East Meck took over on downs and moved down inside Indy’s 25-yard line. The Patriots’ defense held forcing East Meck to settle for a 38-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 9-0 half-time lead. In the third quarter, an Indy punt was downed at the Eagles’ one-yard line. On East Meck’s first play, the quarterback fumbled the snap and Indy’s Ronnell Garrett recovered the fumble in the end zone for a Patriots’ touchdown. The extra point was good, and Indy trailed by two 7-9 with 5:15 left in the third quarter. East Meck still led 9-7 at the end of the period. With 7:40 left in the game, an East Meck punt pinned Indy down on the eight-yard line. Indy’s Arnold Taylor passed to Bryson Tisdale who moved the Patriots out to the East Meck’s 42-yard line. Indy advanced to the Eagles’ 27-yard line on a quarterback keeper. Elijah Puranda took a hand-off and ran to the one-yard line before being knocked out of bounds.
On the next play, Amari Hakeem ran for the touchdown giving the Patriots the lead 13-9 for the first time in the game with 4:08 remaining. Indy lined up for the two-point conversion with a direct snap to Josiah Perez who ran into the end zone for the 2 points. However, the play was called back due to a penalty. Once again Indy lined up for the two-point try. This time Cyrus Sanders took the snap and ran into the end zone for a successful 2 points conversion giving Indy a 15-9 lead. With three minutes left in the game and the ball at Indy’s 48-yard line, Indy’s Josh Iseah and Messiah Lopes sacked the Eagles quarterback making it 3rd down and 18. After the sack, East Meck was called for a false start and then was penalized for intentional grounding. As East was facing a 4th and 33, the Eagles attempted a long pass, but Indy’s Jeremy Philips intercepted the pass with 1:54 left in the game. Indy lined up in victory formation and Arnold Taylor took three knees and ran out the clock as the Patriots picked up their first win of the season.