Jermaine Brewton threw for a career-high four touchdowns and the sixth-ranked Pierce County defense put the clamps on visiting Class A Claxton’s offense in a 42-0 non-region win Friday night.
Brewton completed 16-of-19 passes for 216 yards on a wet night as the extreme outer bands of Hurricane Sally blew misty moisture threw Bearville. Eight different receivers caught passes and four different receivers pulled in scores.
The 16 completions tied Brewton’s career-high total set in 2018. He went 10-of-13 with an interception in the first half and completed all six pass attempts in the third quarter.
“I wanted to see Jermaine throw the ball,” said head coach Ryan Herring of his senior quarterback. “He made some good throws and our receivers made some great catches.”
Pierce County’s (3-0) defensive unit, after allowing three first downs and 49 yards to the Tigers’ offense in the first 12 minutes, bottled up the wing-T scheme over the final 36 minutes to record a second straight shutout. Class A Claxton (1-1) had zero first downs, one yard of offense and two turnovers over its final six possessions.
“I’m really proud of the focus we had,” Herring stated. “We had to fight the weather (rain) all week at practice that pushed us inside a couple of days. That’s not the same and you lose some conditioning.
“Second, we were coming in off two wins over bigger opponents (Brunswick, Wayne County) and a possible letdown. The players gave a great effort and played with intensity, though. All the credit goes to the players for overcoming the adversity and the glory goes to God.”
The Tigers’ deepest penetration was the PCHS 33 late in the first quarter on their second possession. A 10-yard quarterback sack by linebacker L.J. Newton on the last play of the opening period was followed by a holding penalty on the first play of the second stanza wiping out a 43-yard touchdown pass by Claxton.
Those two plays set the tone for the rest of the game. The Tigers could not get past their own 35 over the last six possessions with its best starting position the Claxton 26.
“We were fortunate to have a penalty on their (Tigers) touchdown,” said Herring. “After that (play) we got into a rhythm defensively. It could have been a different story had the touchdown counted.”
PCHS scored touchdowns on five of its six first-half possessions racing out to a 35-0 advantage. The Bears added one more score on their opening series of the second half, which was played with a running clock.
Brewton got his night started on the opening drive of a fast-moving first quarter throwing a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ty Everson with 3:30 on the clock. The play ended a nine-play, 56-yard drive consuming 4:32 of the clock.
Senior Ryan Jacobs connected on the first of his six consecutive PATs extending his school-record streak to 73 in a row over a 15-game career donning the Blue and Silver.
After a second punt by the Tigers following the nullified score, PCHS went 79 yards in six plays. D.J. Bell (nine carries, career-high 143 yards) burst off right guard for a 43-yard scoring jaunt with 8:32 remaining in the half upping the margin to 14-0.
Bell’s touchdown set off a four-touchdown eruption in an eight-minute span covering 16 plays. The Bears missed out on a fifth touchdown, though.
Three plays after Bell’s score, linebacker Spencer Woodcock pounced on the first of two lost fumbles (five total) by Claxton at the Tigers’ 19. Brewton’s ensuing pass went through the fingers of his intended receiver inside the five and into the arms of a Tiger defender in the back of the end zone for a touchback.
A punt followed with Pierce County taking over at the Tigers’ 43. Bell found another seam off right guard on first down quickly covering the distance for a 21-0 working margin with 5:28 on the second quarter clock.
Claxton fumbled the ball away on its next snap following the kick off with linebacker Danarius Johnson making the recovery at the Tigers’ 14. Brewton connected with Maleek Chandel (two catches, 39 yards) on a slant three plays later for the 10-yard score as the lead swelled to 28-0 with 3:59 to play in the half.
PCHS put a final first-half score on the board just 20.5 seconds before intermission following a fourth punt by the visitors to build a 35-0 advantage. The Bears moved 52 yards in five plays scoring on a 31-yard aerial from Brewton to Zay Plummer. The touchdown followed a 29-yard completion to Chandel on third-and-18.
Brewton went 5-for-5 on the opening possession of the third quarter as the Bears moved 80 yards in six plays. The drive was capped by Brewton’s 38-yard toss to a speeding Dream Gainer down the Claxton sideline with 8:18 on the clock.
PCHS had two more possessions in the second half. The Bears’ Jonah Allen pushed a 22-yard field goal attempt wide right after Pierce County took a knee on a third-and-three at the Tigers’ five with eight minutes remaining in the game.
PCHS’s junior varsity unit ran out the final three minutes. The game ended with the Bears at the Claxton eight.