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Pineville falls to Lynn Camp

The Pineville Mountain Lions saw their season come to an end Friday night at the hands of the Lynn Camp Wildcats in the first round of the KHSAA 1A playoffs. The Lions were able to jump out to a quick 12-0 lead before the Wildcats stormed back, took the lead and held on for a narrow 40-34 victory in the Lion’s Den.

“I’m very proud of how our guys played all season long,” said Pineville coach Randy Frazier. “I think this team and these seniors will be remembered for doing something that hasn’t been done here in 30 years. We had a great season and were able to win eight games. We didn’t play our best football during this game, especially on defense, but these guys have nothing to hang their heads about. They had a great year, and we are all proud of them.”

Pineville rattled off two straight touchdowns but failed to convert either conversion after the scores. With three and a half minutes remaining in the first quarter, Lynn Camp was able to punch in a score, narrowing the gap to 12-6.

With just under four minutes remaining in the half, the Wildcats punched in their third straight touchdown to gain their first lead of the game. After a successful 2-point conversion, Lynn Camp held a 20-12 lead. Each team added one more touchdown in the half, allowing the Wildcats to hold a 27-20 advantage going into the break.

With intentions on quickly regaining the lead, Pineville answered early in the second half with a touchdown to bring the score within a point. After missing the extra point, the Lions were within striking distance at 27-26. The game began to get chippy as both teams were assessed multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for the next three drives.

With just over three minutes to play in the third quarter, Lynn Camp extended their lead to seven after adding a touchdown to the board at 33-26. In an attempt to increase their lead, the Wildcats elected to attempt an onside kick. They recovered the kick, allowing them to drive down the field and extend their lead to 40-26 after a touchdown and successful PAT.

A few drives would stall out for each team before the Lions forced a fumble and took over on offense. With just under two minutes remaining, after converting a crucial 4-and-11, Pineville punched in another touchdown to bring the score to 40-34 in Lynn Camp’s favor after a successful 2-point conversion.

With little time and limited options, the Lions elected to kick an onside kick. Pineville managed to recover the kick and regain possession. On the ensuing play, Reece Capps connected with Landon Couch, who drove up the field toward the end zone with time winding down. Lynn Camp managed to bring Couch down, but grabbed his facemask in the process.

With the big catch-and-run, with a penalty added on, the Lions were inside the 7-yard line with a first down and no time outs. Pineville inched their way closer to the plane on their first two snaps but were unable to convert the touchdown. On third down, they elected to spike the ball as time wound down and they had zero timeouts. On fourth and goal from the 4-yard line, Morris took the direct snap, faking the run and loading up for a pass. Morris’ pass fell incomplete, putting an end to the Lions late-game heroics and ending their season.

Frazier said this year’s team has laid the ground work for the future of the program. “It’s all about having a solid foundation,” he said. “I think this year will be a good building block for the years to come. We are going to get in the weight room and hit it hard. That is a big deal to us here. We just want to be bigger, faster, stronger and smarter next season.”

In his first year with the Mountain Lions, coach Frazier said he was honored to have coached this team. “It’s been an honor to coach these guys this year,” he said. “Did it end like we wanted it to? No. We wanted to go deep into the playoffs and give ourselves a chance to do something big. However, I can’t say enough about how proud I am of this team. These seniors were a pleasure to coach, and we hate to lose them. I had a blast this season with these guys and these coaches.”

Frazier also stated that the community of Pineville was a major factor in his team’s success this season. “Pineville is place for everybody,” he said. “We have some of the best people you will ever want to meet here. We have a very rich and honorable history here. The administration does a phenomenal job, the community is beyond supportive and these guys work hard day in and day out. I am honored to be the coach here, and I look forward to getting back to work next season.”