Hat’s Off to J.P.
by Josh Spence

The Pirate football team won game one of the Skip Holtz era with a total team effort.  A defense that was 111th in Division 1-A football last year allowing 456 yards per game, allowed only 301 yards on Saturday.  Zach Baker led the way defensively with 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery.  On special teams the Pirates were exceptional as well.  Markeith McQueen and Travis Williams turned in solid kick and punt returns respectively, while Ryan Dougherty landed four punts inside the twenty yard-line.  Offensively, it was the Pinkney to Allison show.  James completed 17 of 21 passes for 235 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.  163 of those yards went to junior college transfer Aundrae Allison.  Pinkney also ran for 31 yards and commanded an offense that struggled running the ball all day.  Not bad for a guy who has only been at practice for a month. 

If you ask me, the concept of a college football player, especially the starting quarterback, losing his academic eligibility is ridiculous.  The necessary resources are there for any student-athlete, if they choose to use them.  Attempting to balance a full school schedule and the rigors of a college football season isn’t easy.  However, the rules work around the tough schedule and give every athlete the ability to succeed, as long as the athlete does their part.  As bad as it was, James Pinkney regained respect by coming back the way he did.  He worked hard, bussing tables to get by, and not only enrolling, but succeeding in classes this summer.  Pinkney did everything he had to do for himself and for his football career.

What happened to James Pinkney could have marked the end of his career.  Instead of giving up, James apparently had a moment of self-evaluation, realized his potential, and made a conscious effort not to let it go to waste.  Now he’s not only back as the Pirates starting quarterback, but he just led his squad to an opening day victory over an in-state, ACC opponent after only 30 days in a new offense.  Hats off to you James Pinkney.  And hats off to the Pirate coaching staff for a great start to the season.

Josh Spence