Football: Pirrone and Leonard kickstart Knights to 49-14 win over TJ

Afyter a bad first half, two of the Knights captains put their own advice into action to help boost Middletown to a win.


In a first half that was filled with mistakes for the Middletown High School Knights Varsity Football team, the message for the second half was simple.

Execute your assignment.

Even though the Knights were up 29-14 at the half over the Governor Thomas Johnson High School Patriots, the first half had been one to forget with penalties, turnovers, and mental mistakes in general piling up throughout half.

During the huddle at the half, it wasn’t the coaches talking to the players but the senior captains who spread the message of trying to execute assignments.

When the second half started, MHS senior quarterback and captain Tim Pirrone would take his own advice and put it into actions, leading the Knights down the field on three straight drives for 20 unanswered points en route to a 49-14 win over the Patriots.

Pirrone started the game hot, running for a 12 yard touchdown after receiving excellent field position, on the TJ 23 yard line, to start off.

After an interception by TJ senior Josh McClain that would lead to a TJ touchdown, Pirrone would pick up from where he started on the first drive, rushing for 30 yards and completing one pass for 21 yards.

The Knights would cap of the drive with a 3 yard run by MHS senior half back Bradley Rinehart to go up 13-6 with 4:56 left in the first quarter.

Middletown would put up 6 more points before the end of the first quarter to make the score 19-6 and seemed to be in a good spot heading into the second quarter.

During the second quarter, the Knights offense would get stuck in neutral with turnovers dooming the Knights.

Middletown would fumble the ball five times during the second quarter with three of those resulting in turnovers, with Pirrone fumbling the ball four out of those five times.

The low point for the Knights would come with 6:19 left in the second quarter, even though it was short lived.

Pirrone would fumble the ball on his own 33 and have it returned by TJ junior defensive lineman Ian Anderson for a touchdown, to make the score 19-14 after a two-point conversion by TJ.

The Knights would get the ball back and after running just two offensive plays would fumble again on their third play and give the ball back to TJ.

Even though the Knights would turn the corner from there scoring 10 points after an interception by MHS senior Mitch Sgrignoli seemed to turn the momentum, the Knights were still frustrated at the half with how they were playing.

The captains would step up at halftime and talk to the guys about how they felt the team was playing with Pirrone and MHS senior Ricky Leonard leading the way trying to help the team get back into the game.

“We just had to step up. We were playing scared and making these stupid mistakes,” said Pirrone. “We just had to go out in the third quarter and do what what Middletown does.”

Leonard would echo his teammates’ sentiment after the game.

“We came out awful. That’s the best way to put it,” said Leonard. “We probably had 5 turnovers, probably over 10 penalties.”

Immediately once the second half started the two captains would set the example for what they had just said at halftime from the first play.

Pirrone would come out giving confidence and pace to an offense that had seemed to lack any type of offensive flow in the first half.

Middletown would put up a 65 yard drive in just 2:56 with the legs of MHS seniors Frankie Meighan and Bradley Rinehart coming in big.

Pirrone would get in on the act on the second and third drives, running for a 20 yard touchdown and then completing passes of 51 and 3 yards back-to-back to Leonard and Meighan respectively, with the score to put the Knights up 49-14 coming on the short pass to Meighan.

Even though to the normal person, the Knights offense may have seemed to struggle throughout the game when viewing the box score afterwards the statistics may have come off a bit suprising, as they showed that this was Middletown’s best offensive game of the season.

The Knights would gain 488 total yards of offense, 100 more than any other amount of offensive yards they have gained over the season.

The game was also the most successful on the passing front as Pirrone would go 10 for 17 with 151 yards and two touchdowns with only one interception.

Middletown would have three players with over 50 rushing yards as Rinehart would lead the team with 108 yards on 13 carries while Pirrone would add 68 and Meighan would add 60.

With the win, the Knights have almost locked up a #1 seed in the 2A West Region for the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 2A Football Tournament.

They now lead the second place South Carroll High School Cavaliers by 22 points with the Cavaliers needing a good bit of help from the opponents they have beaten to secure a #1 seed.