FRANKLIN – The Page High School football team's defense had its hands full against Nolensville Friday trying to keep its unbeaten record intact.
The Patriots gave up some big plays but got plenty of their own in a 40-22 home victory over the Knights to move to 8-0 on the season.
Quarterback Jake McNamara threw for four touchdowns, two of those to Boyce Smith, and Ethan Cunningham rushed for more than 100 yards and a TD in the Page win.
“They’re very athletic, and they were able to man us up a little bit (defensively),” Page coach Charles Rathbone said. “We had to figure out a better blocking scheme to beat that, and our guys did a good job.”
Nolensville kept the Patriots on their toes defensively, finding seams in the secondary and getting large chunks of yardage with QB Coby Walton, who finished with 239 yards and two TDs on 22-of-34 passing.
The Page defense stiffened in the second half, however, holding the Knights to just three possessions and six points, while the offense had to contend with mental errors and unnecessary setbacks. The Patriots amassed 15 penalties for 120 yards, and Nolensville finished with 11-114.
“They’re hard to tackle, and their quarterback got rid of the ball quickly,” Rathbone said. “We struggled to tackle in the first half, and we adjusted to put another guy out there. We at least slowed them down a little bit in the second half.”
The lead changed hands three times in the first half, after the two teams matched each other big play for big play, culminating with a 23-16 Patriot advantage at the break.
Nolensville got a TD run from Samson Johnson to start things on the game’s opening drive, then Page answered two series later with a 1-yard plunge by Cunningham to make it 7-6.
Reese Miller’s 37-yard field goal bounced off the top of the left upright and passed between the posts to give the Knights a 9-7 lead with just under two minutes left in the first quarter.
Michael Mayer got behind the Nolensville defense to catch one of two first-half TD passes from McNamara, scoring from 55 yards away to retake the lead at 14-9.
Ben Coggin’s 22-yard TD catch gave the advantage back to the Knights, then Page added a 31-yard FG from Dominick Quarantello and a 11-yard TD catch by Smith to close out the first half scoring.
The Patriots scored on their first two drives of the third quarter, then added a 28-yard FG from Quarantello to put the game out of reach.
McNamara closed 20-of-30 for 331 yards. Smith caught seven balls for 115 yards and Mayer added four receptions for 105 more.
Colin Hurd paced the Patriots defense with 10 tackles. Page collected four sacks in the contest, including a pair from Isaac Hehmeyer.
The game was the first meeting in region play between the two Williamson County schools. Both stay in county, but step out of region play next in two weeks. Page heads to Independence and Nolensville hosts Franklin.