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By Jules Sacchetti
LELAND—The season-opening football game Friday night between the Pender Patriots and the host North Brunswick Scorpions game was penalty filled, but despite the penalties, the Scorpions came out on top, winning 21-16.
The workhorse for the night was Graham Rivenbark, who scored two touchdowns and carried the load on offense. Two critical fumbles cost the Scorpions anymore scoring opportunities. However, with just 1 minute, 38 seconds left in the second quarter, Brandon Addison picked up a Pender fumble on the hop and galloped 49 yards for the first score of the season. David Price kicked the extra point making it 7-0.
The ensuing kickoff was recovered by Kevon Perkins, putting the Scorpions in good field position. On the next play, Daniel Malpass took a handoff from quarterback Jacob Shumate and rambled 30 yards to set up the next touchdown. Rivenbark scored his first of two touchdowns up the middle for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked, making it 13-0.
It looked as if North Brunswick was going to run away with it, but another penalty thwarted anymore scoring chances. Kevon Perkins intercepted a Pender pass ending the half.
With 6:38 in the third quarter, Rivenbark scored again, this time from 7 yards. Coach Garry Bishop decided to go for a two-point conversion and it was successful when Jacob Shumate found Randy Clark in the end zone, and put North ahead 21-0.
With 2:50 left in the quarter, Pender punched one in for its first score. A quarterback sneak conversion made it 21-8 ending the third quarter.
Jabril Robinson had a lot of key stops throughout the night; however, penalties put the Scorpions in bad field position. With 9:23 left in the game, the r Patriots bounced right back and scored on an end around. The ensuing two-point conversion cut the lead to 21-16.
The momentum was changing to Pender with the last two scores, plus some hard defensive hits. Pender was grinding it out on the ground and picking up some good yardage, but the Scorpion defense came up with some key stops for the 21-16 victory.