The 14-point cushion created by an early pair of Middle Creek turnovers wasn’t the only comfort zone Greensboro’s Page High operated in during the Friday’s 4AA eastern regional football championship game.
The Pirates (13-2), who won 49-23, were incredibly effective when quarterback Will Jones was forced to throw on the run.
Between Jones’ footwork and the route-running of a bevy of 6-foot-plus receivers, Middle Creek — although it played solid defense at times — couldn’t get its offense back on the field enough in the first half to try to cut deeper into the Page lead.
The Mustangs (14-1) hadn’t allowed an opponent more than 21 points since mid-September. But few teams offer the offensive challenges the Pirates do with highly-recruited junior Diondre Overton — a 6-foot-5, 195-pounder, senior Miles Faison (6-2, 165), senior James Ellis II (6-2, 190) and 6-2, 197-pound Jeremy Level lined up at the receiver positions for Jones.
To try to avoid giving up big plays, Middle Creek stuck with simple three- or four-man rushes most of the night, trying to outnumber the Pirates in coverage.
And it worked for the most part, until plays started to break down from what was drawn up on the play sheet.
Those were the times when Overton, who is being recruited by N.C. State, Clemson and Tennessee among others, and company kept working against the Mustangs defense and finding an open passing lane for Jones.
Jones completed 15 of his first 17 passes on the night, including three on the run on Page’s third touchdown drive of the night. He hit Overton for a 22-yard gain after being flushed from the pocket when the Pirates looked headed for a certain third-and-long situation, setting up a 17-yard TD pass to Overton four plays later for a 21-0 advantage.
Jones also took only one sack on the night. Add Javon Leake’s big 193-yard-plus night running the ball to zero turnovers, and it’s an equation any team would find tough to solve.
Faison had a game-high 117 yards on seven balls caught and Jordan pulled in six catches for 80 yards.