By EMILY R. WEST Photos by VANESSA BEACH and EMILY R. WEST
The Page Patriots (1-1, 1-0) waited until the final minute Friday to decide Friday’s Region 4-Class 4A home matchup against Spring Hill School (2-1, 0-1).
Scrambling after another Raider touchdown, the Patriots had time on the clock to make it into the end zone. Penalties on Spring Hill helped provide the much needed yardage to nudge them into scoring position. With 38 seconds left to play, Page posted the final points on the scoreboard, ending the game 26-25.
“That was a very athletic and very good team,” Patriots head coach Charles Rathbone said. “I am proud of our guys for hanging around. You know, we started five sophomores and one freshman tonight. We are really young for them to be able to fight back like that. It’s just a great job by these guys.”
Rathbone said the final plays of the game came down to Page trying to run down the clock. Spring Hill had given them two penalties that placed Page inside the 5-yard line. Rathbone hoped it would have taken two or three plays, but instead Bubba Johnson punched it in on the first try.
“We just had to keep our composure,” he said. “We have a lot of things to clean up. Overall, I thought we did pretty well.”
Johnson led Page with 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Andrew Metkler added eight receptions for 103 yards in the victory.
Dontae Smith led Spring Hill with 154 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Darrin Johnson had five catches for 111 yards and two scores.
Spring Hill gave up nearly 100 yards with 14 penalties in the game with Page taking advantage. Page gave up almost just as many with nine penalties.
Spring Hill accumulated more yards and first downs. The team had 334 yards of total offense and 17 first downs. In comparison, Page had 307 yards with 21 first downs.
Spring Hill head coach Jay Emmons said the first loss of the season came down to lack of focus and costly mistakes. Standing in the huddle after the game, he explained that his team had the makings of a championship team, but couldn’t accomplish that with errors made Friday.
“I have been very scared for a few weeks now about our discipline at crunch time,” Emmons said. “You either revert or you push forward. Page made some of its plays tonight because we lack discipline. But we are going to go back, regroup and recover.
“We are going to get ready for next week. But we are going to focus on making our team better and focus on what we need to fix.”
Page will face Forrest next Friday at home. Spring Hill will play Dickson County.