Cayden McKethan races for the end zone.

Walker Brittain CFNN Football Reporter

Similar to how Dory in Finding Nemo just kept swimming, the Colts just keep winning.

The football team pulled out a hard-earned 36-19 win over the Pine Forest Trojans on Friday night. This was the type of game the Colts relish the most; a tough, physical contest that found most of the competitors sore and hurting.

It was an important victory for the Colts’ Patriot Athletic Conference Championship hopes and for their playoff seeding. With this win, the Colts extended their win streak to six games.

“I really think it is the attitudes of our guys,” said Coach Thomas. “Ever since the Terry Sanford loss, our guys have become more coachable and focused. We told them that they had to fight for 48 minutes, and they have really bought into that.”

The Trojans were without their star running back and UNC commit DJ Jones.

“It affected the game because they did some things that they probably wouldn’t have done if he had played,” said Coach Jake Thomas. “Really, I think it helped them a little bit because we saw some stuff that we hadn’t seen on film and they caught us by surprise defensively. I don’t think it affected them negatively. They got more yards than any team we have played all season, so they moved the ball pretty well.”

The Trojans did surprise the Colts at in the first half. Trojan quarterback Jaden Jones came out of the gate throwing. While he ended with a mediocre stat line of 9-19 for 69-yards and one touchdown, this event defied the usually Trojan game plan and made the Colts defense vulnerable to play action and quarterback runs. Jones’s passing game opened up holes for him to run, as he ended the game with 75-yards on 18 carries and one touchdown.  This helped the Trojans keep the game within a touchdown going into halftime. 

The Colts offensive attack was led by Cayden Mckethan, who scored four of the Colts five touchdowns. He led the Colts in rushing with 237-yards on 26 carries and in receiving with three receptions for 31-yards. 

McKethan scores as FB Nick Minacapelli celebrates.

Mckethan is averaging over 100-yards rushing a game and will look to break 1,000-yards and 20 touchdowns  for the season against E.E. Smith this Friday. 

“Offensively we ran the ball well,” said Coach Thomas. “Especially in the second half, we were more consistent with it. I feel like it was a tough game going into halftime and we came out and responded in the 3rd quarter.”

As the postseason approaches small mistakes become magnified. Consistency seems to be the key for a strong postseason run for the Colts.

A diving score from star running back Cayden McKethan.

“I feel like we have to better with consistency,” said Coach Thomas. “We have to be consistent on both sides of the ball. The other night we had too many penalties. That hurt us a good bit, so we have to cut down on those. Lastly, probably our passing game a little bit. We need some improvement there.”

Senior Night is this Friday against E.E. Smith. This Senior Class has been through a lot and their leadership will be missed.

They have been to a State Championship. 

Senior Captain Kaleb Krings

Lineman Caleb Krings has been a captain since his sophomore year. 

Mark Burks has been a vocal leader every time he has stepped on the field even for kickoffs his freshman year. He has represented Colts football on the track, in the pool, and on the mat.

Mason Smith started his Colt career as an emergency kicker filling in for injured Jacob Brewington during the State Championship run. Smith  has emerged as a perennial first team all conference kicker and punter. 

Senior Kicker and Punter Mason Smith

That is only a few examples of Colt Seniors that have  shown what it has meant to be Colt on and off the field. 

“Very tough senior class,” said Coach Thomas. “They have been the leaders of our programs for the last couple years not just as seniors. Really a great group. They are hard working. I believe in those guys and I am happy for them for the success they have had so far this season.”

Senior Captain Mark Burks.

Senior Night is always a time for reflection on all that athletes have achieved and experienced individually and together as a team. More importantly, it is a time to reflect and thank all of the people who have helped them get there and cherish the bond that will last a lifetime. 

“The bonds that I have created is why I still play football,” said Mark Burks. “What I have built here, what we have created here, the people that I have met here, this journey here is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.”