NACOGDOCHES — In a battle of two teams trying to put 2012 in the rearview mirror and build some momentum heading into district play, it was the Nacogdoches Dragons who capitalized en route to a 45-14 rout of Pine Tree on Friday night at Dragon Stadium.
With Texas High on the horizon in the District 14-4A opener, the Pirates fell into a huge hole and never recovered.
Nacogdoches amassed 521 yards of offense. Dragons quarterback Hunter McClellan was 8 of 11 for 205 yards and five touchdowns, all coming in the first half. On the final play of the half, with the Dragons holding a 35-0 lead, McClellan suffered an arm injury on a deep pass attempt.
He did not return and could miss multiple games going forward.
Pine Tree also had injury issues as Doug Morgan, who has 26 catches for 413 yards and three touchdowns on the season, did not play because of a hip injury.
The Pirates did score on their first possession of the second half with a 25-yard pass from Dalvin Manns to Mason Hays to cut the score to 35-7. Pine Tree then stopped Nacogdoches on its next possession, but Pine Tree could never put a real dent into the deficit.
Nacogdoches added a 37-yard field goal from Rudy Fuentes and a 4-yard run by Bryce Matthews, who moved from running back to quarterback after the injury to McClellan, to give Nacogdoches a 45-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Matthews was 4 of 6 through the air for 60 yards, and he rushed for 76 yards and the score. Coronado Tolbert rushed for 96 yards on 21 carries for the Dragons (4-1), who will open District 16-4A play at Jacksonville next week. Sam Morgan had seven catches for 85 yards and three scores, and Watson had two receptions for 110 yards.
Pine Tree scored one more time in the final quarter with a 1-yard from by Manns. The senior quarterback was 13 of 23 for 193 yards with a touchdown and an interception, which came by Nacogdoches sophomore Brandon Jones.
Hays caught six passes for 80 yards for Pine Tree (3-1) and Quay Ward rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries.