Missed opportunities prove costly for Pam Pack in loss to Bears

Published 6:29 am Saturday, October 25, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
NEW BERN — Washington certainly had its chances, but self destruction kept the Pam Pack from pulling out a victory over the defending 4-AA champion New Bern Bears.
The Pack turned the ball over three times, and costly penalties stymied other drives as the Bears were able to escape with a 21-19 victory Friday night at Caruso-Coates Stadium. It made for a happy Senior Night for New Bern (5-3-1, 3-2 Coastal Conference), and a long bus ride back to Washington for the Pack (5-4, 3-2 Coastal Conference), who were hoping to secure its first win over the Bears since 1970.
The Pack and Bears played their final league game as New Bern moves into a new conference next year. Washington was hoping to end a 37-year winless drought against the Bears, but it wasn’t meant to be on a wet Friday night.
The two teams battled under a deluge all game long.
The Bears got the better footing in the early stages of the game. Josh Moore capped off an 11-play, 65-yard opening drive with an 8-yard touchdown burst. Miguel Cruz tacked on the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Mike Banks quickly gave the Bears a 14-0 lead after the change of possession. The 5-4, 140-pound senior zipped through the Pack defense and down the sideline for a 62-yard score.
The diminutive running back, who wasn’t used much before Friday night’s game, led all carriers with 108 yards on 10 carries.
The Pack was able to answer thanks to the arm of Austin Thompson (11-of-26, 182 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs) and the legs of Dakuan Spencer.
Thompson used a nifty play-action pass to find Tony Turnage (four catches, 62 yards) open in the end zone for a 14-yard strike. Justin Meekins, who missed a 30-yard field goal earlier in the game, added the PAT to pull the Pack within 14-7.
Thompson hit Turnage with a 37-yard pass and Spencer (11 carries, 67 yards; six catches, 86 yards) broke off a 32-yard run to set up the score.
It remained that way until the middle of the third quarter. After the Pack failed to convert on a 4th-and-8 at the New Bern 37-yard line, the Bears covered the 63 yards to build a 21-7 lead. J.D. Saunders scampered 40 yards deep into Pam Pack territory, setting up a 13-yard scoring jaunt by Tyrell Lindsey.
Washington turned to the ground game to march down the field on the ensuing possession. Freshman Kaschief Foreman (14 carries, 50 yards) had a 25-yard run and Turnage a 17-yard burst to get into New Bern territory. Thompson hooked up with Spencer on a fourth-down shovel pass, as the junior bulled his way over from 12 yards out to pull Washington within 21-13. Meekins was wide left on the PAT to keep it an eight-point game.
The Pack was set up in prime real estate again at the New Bern 27 after a special teams miscue by the Bears. However, three straight penalties, including one that nullified a touchdown, kept the Pack out of the end zone.
The Pack was knocking on the door a short time later, getting as close as the New Bern 12. However, a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed Washington back 15 yards and doomed that drive.
After Cruz missed a 35-yard field goal try, the Pack found the end zone again. Thompson lofted a perfect 19-yard strike to Spencer, making it 21-19 with 4:10 to play. Spencer took a direct snap on the 2-point conversion try, but the Bears snuffed it out to preserve the two-point lead.
After a second special teams mistake by the Bears, Washington was set up at the New Bern 36. However, Jerrell Armstrong picked off Thompson to end the drive.
Washington’s last-ditch effort in the final seconds came up short as the Bears picked off Thompson for the third time.
Washington returns home next Friday on Walk of Fame night to battle the Havelock Rams (8-1, 5-0), who shared the Coastal Conference lead with West Craven.
Washington New Bern
16 First Downs 12
34-157 Rushes-Yards 39-190
182 Passing Yards 118
26-11-3 Pass-Comp-Int 16-8-0
3-30.0 Punting 5-29.8
1-0 Fumbles-Lost 2-0
6-40 Penalties 4-43
Washington 0 7 6 6 — 19
New Bern 7 7 7 0 — 21
Scoring Summary
NB — Josh Moore 8 run (Miguel Cruz kick), 7:35, 1st
NB – Mike Banks 62 run (Cruz kick), 9:56, 2nd
W – Austin Thompson 14 pass to Tony Turnage (Justin Meekins kick), 8:01, 2nd
NB – Tyrell Lindsey 13 run (Cruz kick), 7:48, 3rd
W – Thompson 12 pass to Dakuan Spencer (kick failed), 5:36, 3rd
W – Thompson 19 pass to Spencer (run failed), 4:10, 4th