Pinkney shines in Purple-Gold game

Published 3:56 pm Sunday, April 19, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — Patrick Pinkney made sure his last Purple-Gold Spring game was a special one.
The sixth-year senior completed 19-of-26 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns in leading ECU to a 31-10 victory over the Pirates. Pinkney also added a rushing touchdown in the game, played on a spectacular, sunny Saturday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
ECU head coach Skip Holtz was pleased with his team’s performance throughout the spring.
Holtz and his staff will spend the next few days putting together a redefined depth chart.
A pair of local players, C.J. Wilson and Gerald Lawrence, enjoyed their time on the field Saturday.
Wilson, a defensive end and former standout with the Northside Panthers, was on the winning squad. The well-decorated 6-4, 271-pound senior is a veteran of the annual spring game, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to him.
Wilson, who will likely be playing in the NFL next year, tried to enjoy his last spring game.
Gerald Lawrence, a fullback and former star with the Washington Pam Pack, was also on the winning ECU squad. It was the second Purple-Gold spring game for the 5-10, 220-pound junior, but his first at fullback.
While Lawrence is happy that he’s on the depth chart, he’s not satisfied.
Pinkney proved that he belongs as the number one signal caller. Both of his touchdown passes went to Michael Bowman, who finished with three receptions for a game-high 72 yards.
On the other side, Josh Jordan, a redshirt freshman, connected on 19-of-33 passes for 202 yards and an interception. Jordan was thrown into the fire when senior Rob Kass was excused to attend a funeral.
Brandon Jackson, a sophomore transfer from Kentucky, led all running backs with 55 yards on 15 carries. Holtz said Jackson has been impressive in camp, and earned the right to play in the team’s season-opener.
Matt Dodge nailed a 49-yard field goal and Pinkney hit Bowman with a 9-yard scoring strike, completing a five-play, 55-yard drive, to give ECU a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
Jordan helped the Pirates respond with 10 points in the second quarter. Ben Ryan converted a 22-yard field goal, before Jordan’s 1-yard plunge capped a short six-play, 27-yard drive to tie it at 10-10.
Pinkney’s 1-yard sneak on a naked bootleg early in the third gave ECU a 17-10 advantage, but the senior paid a price in doing so. The ECU quarterback was blasted just as he crossed the goal line by defensive back Emanuel Davis, but Pinkney shook off the jarring blow.
Pinkney came right back and delivered a quick-hitter to Bowman, who raced untouched 59 yards for a touchdown and a 24-10 ECU lead.
J.R. Rogers, who finished with 51 yards rushing on 14 totes, broke off a 50-yard touchdown run early in the fourth. The senior took the handoff, darted through an opening and had clear sailing to the end zone, giving ECU a 31-10 lead.
Rogers led ECU with five receptions for 31 yards. Joe Womack (44 yards), Andrew Bodenheim (40 yards) and Kevin Gidrey (20 yards) all had three receptions, while Reyn Willis had two grabs for 22 yards.
Jacobi Jenkins (55 yards) and Darryl Freeney (49) both had five receptions for the Pirates. Jamar Bryant added three catches for 58 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Steve Spence paced ECU with six tackles, while defensive back Levin Neal had 5.5 for the Pirates.
ECU member Chris Mattocks recovered two fumbles and picked off one pass.
The Pirates open the season Sept. 5 at home against Appalachian State.
The Pirates passed out their 2009 Spring Football Awards prior to the game.
Earning Most Improved honors were defensive end Allen Crowder, defensive tackle Josh Smith, linebacker Chris Mattocks, cornerback Travis Simmons, safety Derek Blacknall, offensive lineman Terence Campbell, tight end Michael Byrd, running back Brandon Jackson, wide receiver Michael Bowman and quarterback Josh Jordan.
Awards were also presented for Distinction of Outstanding Attitude, Effort and Leadership. Those honors went to defensive end C.J. Wilson, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, linebacker Jeremy Chambliss, cornerback Dekota Marshall, safety Van Eskridge, offensive lineman Sean Allen, tight end Kevin Gidrey, running back Darnel Ballard, wide receiver Reyn Willis and quarterback Rob Kass.