POCAHONTAS -- Jeff Conaway's teams are known for plenty of offense.
Yardage and scoring was in short supply on Friday, but Shiloh Christian found a way to advance in the Class 4A playoffs by leaning on its defense.
Shiloh Christian used a 47-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Connor Reece to wide receiver Jarred Moore with 4 minutes, 31 seconds remaining to pull out a 14-7 road victory at 4A-3 No. 1 seed Pocahontas at Schoonover Field.
In addition, the Saints (9-3) blocked a pair of punts deep in Pocahontas territory. One led directly to the game's first touchdown.
That was all Shiloh Christian would need. The Saints' defense held Pocahontas to 213 yards of offense and seven points -- 32 points below the team's average entering the game.
"Our defense played great and our special teams played great," Conaway said. "Two great teams going at it and both teams laid everything on the line. When you do that, sometimes it turns out to be a defensive battle and that was definitely the case tonight."
After Moore's touchdown catch, Pocahontas churned its way down field needing a touchdown of its own. On fourth-and 20 with 3:01 to play, Pocahontas receiver Tristen Privett snagged a 27-yard pass from Reece Coates over double coverage to keep the drive alive.
The Redskins (10-2) eventually moved all the way to the Shiloh Christian 16-yard line, but a false start, two incompletions and an 11-yard sack once again put them in fourth-and-long. This time Coates' deep pass was batted down at the goal line and Shiloh Christian held on.
Shiloh Christian, the No. 2 seed out of the 4A-1 conference, will host Warren (2nd 4A-8) next week in the quarterfinals.
"It's exciting," Conaway said. "We feel like we're playing really well right now. We've had a good run down the stretch. It's always good to get back into the playoffs and make a run."
The Saints have won two playoff games for the first time since 2010.
Early in the game it became apparent that offense would be at a premium. The biggest play of the half came late in the first quarter on Kyle Freeman's 53-yard run down to the Pocahontas 17. Freeman returned from a knee injury after missing last week's game. But the Saints couldn't muster a single yard on the next four plays, and the Redskins took possession.
Freeman's run didn't result in points, but it did flip field position, and the Saints' special teams made the biggest play of the half after the defense held Pocahontas to a three-and-out.
On fourth and 11 from the 17-yard line, the Redskins' long snapper short-hopped the snap. By the time the punter recovered, Ben Olsen had broken through and blocked the punt. John-Marcus Carruthers fell on the ball at the Pocahontas 5.
On the ensuing possession, Freeman cashed in on a three-yard plunge up the middle on third-and-goal. After the extra point, the Saints had a 7-0 lead with 9:43 left in the second quarter.
Pocahontas tied the game on a 95-yard drive in the third quarter. The drive begin with a 15-yard roughing penalty and six plays later Coates found Grant Prichard behind the defense for a 48-yard touchdown.
Both teams struggled to move the ball after the Redskins' touchdown until Reece, who was under heavy pressure, delivered a perfect deep ball to Moore for the game-winning score.
Reece finished 13-for-20 for 141 yards one touchdown and one interception. The Saints' rushing game managed just 120 yards on 39 carries and 261 total yards.
Sports on 11/22/2014
Print Headline: Saints Knock Off Pocahontas