PARIS — Ryan McCray and the Paris North Lamar ground game were a tough assignments for Pine Tree, but the Pirates made Friday’s game at R.L. Maddox Stadium even tougher on themselves.

Pine Tree committed 13 penalties, a few of which proved pivotal, while McCray carried 43 times for 265 yards and four touchdowns as North Lamar snapped a three-game losing streak to Pine Tree in a 31-21 Panthers win.

North Lamar (3-1) overcame a 14-10 halftime deficit and led 31-14 in the fourth quarter before holding off Pine Tree in the closing minutes.

Leading by four points early in the third quarter, Pine Tree forced North Lamar into a fourth-and-5 situation from the Panthers’ 37-yard line. North Lamar punted, but Pine Tree (0-3) was offside, giving the Panthers a first down after a measurement. The penalty proved a turning point as North Lamar ran 12 more plays on the drive, scoring on McCray’s three-yard touchdown run with 4:25 remaining for a 17-14 lead that put North Lamar up for good.

Matt Cox ran for 76 yards on 10 carries, and Xavier McCoo had 67 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries for Pine Tree. McCoo had a 78-yard touchdown catch-and-run negated on the first possession of the game, but the Pirates eventually scored on the drive.

Pine Tree opens District 14-4A play at Nacogdoches (0-3) on Friday.

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