APEX — The Riverside Pirates and Apex Cougars scored just one touchdown apiece in the first three quarters, then combined for seven touchdowns in the fourth quarter and both overtime periods.
Riverside scored on the first possession of the second overtime, but had the extra point blocked. The play didn’t cost the Pirates, who stopped Apex on four downs to hold on for the 37-31 double-overtime win Friday night.
Riverside’s Joel Evans fumbled his first carry of the game, then vowed to make up for it.
By the end of the Pirates’ win, Evans earned himself the game ball. The diminutive fullback rushed 23 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
This is the latest in the season the Pirates (3-2) have been above .500 since starting 4-3 in 2009.
Apex (1-3) lost despite a valiant effort from senior Rondell James.
He ran 15 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns. He also picked off a pass and then blocked the extra point that could have helped seal a Cougars win.
Both offenses got off to rough starts. The first four Riverside possessions netted negative-11 yards as Apex defenders Kemonte Burnette, Jason Lockamy, Austin Burke and Michael Swift blew up plays in the backfield.
Lockamy had two sacks on the night.
Apex took a 3-0 lead on a 26-yard field goal from Ben Foote for the first quarter’s only score. Riverside answered with a 21-yarder from Micah Goodwin.
James scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. A fumble on an option pitch from Ian Boyd gave the Pirates the ball at the 13, and two plays later Diante Strothers found Deon Yarborough for the 13-yard touchdown pass with 12.7 seconds left in the half.
The teams were tied at 10 at halftime and after the third quarter.
They then traded scores in the fourth – a 6-yard run from Apex’s James, a 21-yard from Riverside’s Evans, a 69-yard scamper from Apex’s Isaiah Totten and a 17-yard run from Evans all took just three minutes and 20 seconds off the clock.
Apex scored on a 2-yard run from James to start the first overtime. Strothers answered with a 3-yard run. The Pirates scored on Evans’ 3-yard run.
James blocked the kick, but Apex started its next drive with a fumble that lost four yards, a holding penalty that wiped out a big run and a quarterback draw for no yards.
Grayson Boyd found Ian Boyd for a 15-yard pass on the final play, but he was dragged down at the 3-yard line.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps