NORTH POLE—The North Pole Patriots gained a home playoff date and Colony quarterback Robert Lorentz gained a lot of respect along with a state high school football record.
The Patriots held on Friday night for a 48-42 victory over the Knights in the regular season-ending Railbelt Conference game at Patriot Pride Field.
North Pole, with three touchdowns (two receiving and one rushing) from Lance Wright, two running TD’s from Austin McCoy and a critical interception by Brett Grill, assured itself of second place in the conference and earned a large schools state quarterfinal at home next weekend against the West Anchorage Eagles, the third-place team from the Cook Inlet Conference.
The loss to North Pole, combined with West Valley’s 48-27 win over Juneau-Douglas in Faribanks Saturday night, eliminated the Knights from the playoffs.
Colony finished the season 5-3 overall and 3-3 in Railbelt play. West Valley, Juneau and Colony were all 3-3. West Valley won the tiebreaker, point differential between teams involved and scored the No. 3 seed in the Railbelt. The remaining playoff spot, the fourth seed, came down to head-to-head competition between Juneau and Colony. Juneau edged Colony 21-20 earlier this season.
Matt Wentland and Ben Davis each scored on 1-yard runs for the Patriots, who capped the regular season at 5-1 Railbelt and 7-1 overall.
“We, especially the seniors, wanted to host a playoff game for our community,” Patriots senior quarterback Moo Rogers said after a night which he completed 10 of 19 passes for 206 with two touchdowns, both to Wright in the first half, and an interception.
“We came out and did what we needed to do,’’ Rogers added. “We’re the North Pole Patriots, we play for each other.”
Lorentz saw likewise from his teammates, as they helped him pass for a state single-game record of 530 yards on 41 of 54 passing with six touchdowns and two interceptions. All of the touchdowns by the Knights (3-3, 5-3) came through the air, and junior wide receivers Daniel Bilafer and Antonio Bush accounted for three apiece.
Bush finished with 17 catches for 247 yards, including a 67-yard TD early in the third quarter, and Bilafer had 12 receptions for 131 yards.
“I wasn’t thinking about statistics. I was thinking about my family (teammates) and playing for them,” Lorentz, a senior, said. “They believed in me and I believed in them. We fight for each other.”
The Patriots paused from their postgame celebration to show astonishment at Lorentz’s night on their home field.
“I’m shocked ... 500 yards,” said North Pole offensive coordinator Jon Rogers. “Our defensive strategy was to keep in front of him and let them have the short stuff. They took advantage of it.”
In the fourth quarter, Grill picked off Lorentz’s pass to Bilafer with first down and 5 yards to go from the North Pole 44-yard line, but the Patriots senior cornerback admired the Knights’ quarterback’s night.
“He made some good throws and he made plays when it counted,’’ Grill said.
Wright caught TD passes from Rogers of 24 yards in the first quarter and 63 in the second quarter. The junior wide receiver scored on a five-yard run in the third for a 42-28 lead.
McCoy, while playing at wide receiver, scored on a two-yard run in the third , and while playing at quarterback, scored on a 53-yard dash for a 48-35 lead with 10:53 left in the fourth quarter.
Bilafer caught a 38-yard pass from Lorentz for Colony’s final score with 37 seconds left in the game.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.
North Pole 48, Colony 42
Friday, North Pole
North Pole—Wright 24 pass from Rogers (Crane kick), 3:51.
Colony—Bilafer 2 pass from Lorentz (Bilafer kick), 11:53.
North Pole—Wright 63 pass from Rogers (Crane kick), 11:39.
North Pole—Wentland 1 run (Crane kick), 6:36.
Colony—Bilafer 11 pass from Lorentz (Bilafer kick), 4:53.
North Pole—B. Davis 1 run (Crane kick), 1:26.
Colony—Bush 4 pass from Lorentz (Bialfer kick), :15.
Colony—Bush 67 pass from Lorentz (Bilafer kick), 11:22.
North Pole—McCoy 2 run (Crane kick), 10:08.
North Pole—Wright 5 run (Crane kick), 5:33.
Colony—Bush 3 pass from Lorentz (Bilafer kick), 4:24.
North Pole—McCoy 53 run (kick failed), 10:53.
Colony—Bilafer 38 pass from Lorentz, :37.
RUSHING—Colony: Peltier 6-34, Nivier 4-25, Summers 6-21, Lorentz 2-(-2). North Pole: Wentland 18-91, Campbell 5-88, McCoy 7-71, Rogers 10-38, Wright 3-26, B. Davis 2-9, Starkey 2-1.
PASSING—Colony: Lorentz 41-54-2-530. North Pole: Rogers 11-19-1-215, McCoy 0-0-0-0.
RECEIVING—Colony: Bush 17-247, Bilafer 12-131, Hall 7-84, Peltier 3-51, Summers 1-12, Root 1-5. North Pole: Wright 6-154, Gibson 3-15, McCoy 2-46.