After a tough season, Pickering was able to see fruits of its labor in the last the game of the year.
The Red Devils finally had a complete game come together as they defeated Vinton 34-14.
"I was relieved," Pickering head coach Eddie Thomas said. "I was wondering if I had lost my mind or what. I knew what the kids had. It just never connected. It finally clicked on all cylinders last night. It was fun.
"I wish I knew what the difference was because I'd bottle it up and sell it. Last week, the second half came together. I think what we had been missing all year was confidence, and I think that carried over to this week. I can't say enough about the kids."
Pickering went 0-10 last season and was 0-9 heading into the matchup with the Lions, but their run game and quarterback DeShawn Jackson were rolling.
Jackson finished 8-for-15 through the air and ran for 74 yards to lead the Red Devils.
"He really showed a lot of maturity last night," Thomas said. "He was reading well and threw the ball very well. Last night, he was a big difference.
"He had a good mixture of run-pass. We ran the ball pretty well, but they did a good job of shutting some things down. He found weaknesses in things that they were doing. He threw the ball well enough to keep them off guard. We had been running RPOs, and it all clicked. He made a lot of good decisions for a sophomore."
Pickering and Vinton were tied at 14 at halftime, and a scoreless third quarter set up a showdown in the fourth.
The Red Devils scored on three straight drives in the final quarter to pull away for the win.
Jackson hits Greg Jones for a 9-yard touchdown for the first score of the period, and running back Evan Fernandez followed it up with a 53-yard run to go up 26-14.
The Pickering defense forced three turnovers in the game and two three-and-outs in the fourth quarter.
Running back Semaj Chaney capped off the game with a 33-yard touchdown run to seal the win.
"We came together and played as one," Thomas said. "We weren't worried about anything but our brothers out there. We had been preaching that all year, and it came together in the last game of the season. That's a monkey off the back, so the guys can carry it on next year."