FAYETTEVILLE — It’s a drive that will haunt the Lumberton football team all season.
With a three-point lead, all that was separating the Pirates from a road win, and what would have been the first win of the season, was 3:43 on the clock and a defensive stop against Westover. The Wolverines marched 83 yards in that time and used two penalties to provide the heart-breaker. With 12 seconds left, a 13-yard touchdown pass was the difference as Westover won at home 20-15 over Lumberton.
“We didn’t play well enough to win today,” Lumberton coach Mike Setzer said. “I think our defense played well, and our offense showed spurts, but we have to be more consistent.”
A lead that was at one point 15-6 midway through the fourth quarter, dwindled to nothing after a touchdown run from Westover (1-1) quarterback Xavier Ford cut the lead to 15-12 with 5:05 left. Ford and Xavier Marsh led the Wolverines down the field on the final drive, with Ford tossing the ball to Camari Williams on a slant for the 13-yard go-ahead score.
On the drive, Lumberton was called for off sides on a fourth down and a defensive pass interference set the Wolverines up in the red zone.
Lumberton (0-2) stormed back in the second half after going into halftime down 6-0. Quarterback Braylan Grice led two touchdown drives in the third quarter. The first touchdown drive came on the Pirates’ first possession of the second half. Grice went 3-for-3 passing and also added four sizable runs to set up his touchdown toss to Quamadre Cannady from 14 yards out to tie the game.
“Tonight I saw he wanted to win,” Setzer said of his junior quarterback. “The biggest problem is we have to get 10 guys around him that have that same attitude.”
On the following drive, the Pirates and penalties backed the Wolverines in the shadows of its own goal, and a high snap on a punt resulted in a safety. Grice and the Pirates went up 15-6 on the drive after the free kick when he connected with Montrez Howell on a seven-yard score.
Grice rushed for 103 yards and passed for 135 more with two touchdowns and an interception. He connected twice with Tyrese Gurley, who had a team-high 41 yards receiving.
In the first half, the Pirates struggled to find a rhythm on offense and totaled 119 yards of total offense. They had two drives that went into the red zone, with the last one of the half ending in a blocked field goal.
Malik Cooper had a pair of interceptions for the Pirates and De’onnte McCallum added eight tackles.
Lumberton hosts South View next week.
“Every team is different. We will have to see if this team wants to do some cleansing and shows what they want to be,” Setzer said.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.