COLUMBUS, Ga. – After going the entire 2013 regular season without a loss, the Mount Pisgah Patriots dropped their 2014 season opener 42-34 to Brookstone Saturday afternoon, Aug. 23.
Playing without three of their top defensive players who were sidelined with injuries, the Patriots yielded 300 yards rushing to a pair of Brookstone running backs, with the Cougars adding 134 yards passing.
The Patriots, meanwhile, managed just 227 yards total offense, with quarterback Aaron Winchester accounting for 84 of the team’s 97 yards on the ground. Brookstone also contained the Patriots’ passing game, with Winchester completing nine of 19 passes for 130 yards.
Winchester connected on a 31-yard touchdown pass to Oz Dixon to give the Patriots an early 6-0 lead, but the Cougars went ahead 16-6 on a pair of touchdowns and a safety on a high Mount Pisgah snap from center.
Brookstone, an annual state playoff participant, led 23-12 at the half, with Winchester scoring for the Patriots on an 8-yard run. The Cougars drove for a touchdown to start the second half, but the Patriots closed within 29-26 on a 3-yard run by Justin Gilvin and a 30-yard TD pass from Winchester to Ben Miller.
The Cougars took control in the final period, scoring on a 67-yard run by Sam Ndem, who added the clinching score after Brookstone recovered the ensuing kickoff.
Mount Pisgah scored with three minutes to play and closed within 42-34 on a two-point pass from Winchester to Connor Richey, but the Patriots never got the ball back as Brookstone ran out of clock.
The Patriots are off this week, and coach Mike Forester said he hopes to have defensive linemen Shingi Chigwere and Blake Smith and linebacker J.R. Cendoya back for the game at Rabun County Sept. 5.