Geraldine jumped on Pisgah early, at home Friday night, and never let off the gas, cruising to a 56-20 Class 3A, Region 7 win.
The Bulldogs took advantage of four Eagle turnovers and scored on their first seven possessions as they improved to 4-0 in region play and 5-2 overall. The Eagles fell to 1-2 in the region and 3-3 overall.
“We laid the ball on the ground and just couldn’t overcome the turnovers and penalties,” said Pisgah head coach Luke Pruitt, whose team battled early, keeping the game close.
Geraldine head coach Brad Waldrop, whose team moved one step closer to a region championship, said his offensive line played well, and credited senior quarterback D.J. Graham.
“He probably played his best game of the year,” said Waldrop.
Graham threw four completions on four attempts for 124 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown.
Pisgah picked up two first downs on its opening possession, then fumbled around midfield. The Bulldogs took over and never let up until late. Graham connected with Jackson Bearden for a 23-yard touchdown. Jose Garcia made the first of eight extra points to give Geraldine a 7-0 lead.
Pisgah fought back quick when quarterback Parker Law passed to Nate Cornelison for an 81-yard touchdown. A two-point try failed leaving the Eagles down 7-6 with 7:56 left in the first quarter.
Graham returned the kickoff 66 yards to the Pisgah four-yard line. From there, Chase Kermondy scored on a one-yard run to make it 14-6.
Following a punt, Geraldine scored again, driving 73 yards in six plays. Graham capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 21-6 after one quarter.
The Eagles kept it close when Cornelison scored on an 87-yard touchdown run. Dustin Bell scored on a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 21-14 early in the second quarter.
From there, though, the Bulldogs took over, scoring three touchdowns to put the game away by halftime. Graham and Bearden hooked up again, this time for a71-yard touchdown.
Geraldine scored again, following a punt, when freshman Caleb Hall rushed four yards for the touchdown. After recovering an Eagle fumble, Geraldine closed out the scoring when Anthony Baldwin capped a six play drive with a 13-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 42-14 at halftime.
The Bulldogs scored on its first possession of the second half after Kyle Thackerson returned the kickoff 66 yards. On the next play, Baldwin scored on a four-yard run to push the lead to 49-14 with 11:42 left in the third quarter.
Geraldine closed out the scoring after Graham intercepted a Pisgah pass. The Bulldogs marched 66 yards in 15 plays with Garcia capping it with a three-yard run to make it 56-14.
Pisgah scored late when Law raced in on a 12-yard touchdown run to make the final 56-20.
Cornelison led Pisgah with 234 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. He finished with 128 yards rushing on nine carries and caught two passes for 92 more yards. He had one kickoff return for 14 yards.
Law finished 3-of-8 passing for 128 yards and a touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Pisgah finished with 374 total yards (246 rushing yards) on 44 plays.
For Geraldine, in addition to Graham’s performance, Baldwin had 71 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Bearden caught three passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs finished with 369 total yards (245 rushing yards) on 47 plays.