The Pickering Red Devil trudged through the first three weeks of the season looking for some way to break out of their slump. Friday night in Vinton, Devon Whitley and Daveon Banks gave the Red Devils the one two punch they needed to spoil the Vinton Lions homecoming for a 21-7 win.
VINTON – The Pickering Red Devil trudged through the first three weeks of the season looking for some way to break out of their slump. Friday night in Vinton, Devon Whitley and Daveon Banks gave the Red Devils the onetwo punch they needed to spoil the Vinton Lions homecoming for a 21-7 win. 'Last week we played Basile and showed a little bit of improvement and tonight we finally put it all together,' Pickering head coach Lane Cook said. 'The kids really worked hard and I couldn't be happier for them.
'The monkey is off our backs. We proved to ourselves that we can win and we can execute.' Whitley and Banks came into the game with barely 200 yards between them in three games but on Friday they spun, juked, ducked tackles and out ran the Lions' defense for a combined 374 yards and two touchdowns. Whitley rushed for 185 yards on 31 carries while Banks picked up 189 yards on 16 carries.
'We used a little misdirection early and they kind of took that away from us,' Cook said. 'We just decided to power them off the edge. 'They (Whitley, Banks) showed a little power today. It was a breakout game for both of them and it was the first time both guys were over 100-yards this year.' The Lions tried to cut off Whitley and Banks as they continually used their speed to run to the outside only to see them slip out of their grasp.
'You have to give Pickering credit,' Vinton head coach Tarius Davis said. 'They came in and stuck to their game plan. 'This is two years in a row that they seem to have a back that gives us fits. They (Pickering) played hard and were physical up front and ran the football well. We couldn't get any momentum. We have to find a way to come back from adversity.' Andre Flint rushed for 231 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns to lead Pickering to a 31-27 win over Vinton last year.
Vinton took the open kickoff and marched down the field 52 yards on nine plays to the Red Devils' 10-yard line. But that is when the Lions old nemesis returned as a fumble on a reverse play ended the drive. Vinton lost three of four fumbles after losing four in Week 3 in a 14-7 loss to Oberlin. Vinton has now lost 10 of 14 fumbles on the season.
'It was a tough one," Davis said. "It is always tough to prepare with so much extra stuff (homecoming) going on.
"You just don't know were your focus is as a football team. With a young team I have to do a better job of making sure we come prepared to play."
Pickering turned the fumble into a 90-yard, nine play drive with Whitley scoring on a one-yard run.
Pickering got the ball right back after a Vinton fumble on the onside kick and seven plays later quarterback Garritt Collins only completion of the game went to Marquez Williams for a 13-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Red Devil lead. Vinton came out of halftime fired up and stopped the Red Devils on fourth and seven at the Lions' seven-yard line with 3:44 left in the third quarter. Five plays later, Tanner Guidry found James McMillon for an 81-yard touchdown and breathed new life into the Lions. Vinton forced Pickering to punt on their next possession but for the second time a fumble inside the 20-yard line stopped the Lions short of the end zone. Pickering took advantage of the Lions' misfortune and marched 73 yards on nine-plays capped by a four-yard touchdown run by Banks. D.J. Reed led Vinton's ground game with 98 yards on 19 carries while Guidry completed 4-of-9 passes for 148 yards. McMillon caught two passes for 111 yards.