The Thomas Jefferson Jaguars were intent on showing that the race doesn’t always go to the swift.
However, a missed two-point conversion opportunity proved costly, as E.D. White escaped Hoss Memtsas Stadium with a 21-20 nondistrict victory Saturday night.
“We fought back hard,” Jaguars coach Kevin Kelly said. “We just missed the opportunity to win at home, but I had to go for it. We’d already planned it.”
Jefferson (3-3), members of District 11-2A, came within a point of the Cardinals (4-2) when running back Donte Sincere scored on an 8-yard run with 3:28 left in the game. However, Sincere, who rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, was stopped for no gain on the two-point conversion attempt.
The Cardinals, who play in District 8-3A, recovered an onside kick and ran three plays before kneeling and running out the clock.
“We came up big at the end,” Cardinals coach Chris Bergeron said. “We had guys step up on our last scoring drive.”
The Cardinals played the final three quarters with backup quarterback Hunter Tabor, who replaced starter Ben Sposito, who left with a lower-body injury, Bergeron said.
Jefferson had tied the score at 14-14 on Sincere’s 1-yard run and two-point conversion run at the 3:44 mark of the third quarter. However, E.D. White went 60 yards in 10 plays, scoring on Tabor’s 6-yard pass to running back Brandon Legendre at 9:40 of the fourth.
Jefferson had fought back after EDW hit the Jaguars with a couple of lightning bolts.
“Their long runs early, I feel were the key to their win,” Kelly said. “But we came back strong. We fell just short.”
The Cardinals led 14-6 at halftime on the strength of two big running plays. Getting the ball at their 38 after a Jaguars punt, Legendre ran off right guard, cut back across the middle, then sped down the left sideline for a 62-yard touchdown run.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Jaguars went 76 yards in just four plays, highlighted by Tyler Butler’s 56-yard pass to Ermond Williams on the drive’s first play. Three plays later, Butler bulled up the middle for an 8-yard score. The extra point was missed, and Jefferson trailed 7-6.
White had an even quicker response after the kickoff, as running back Jeremy Rounds went around left end for a 61-yard touchdown run with 1:44 left in the first quarter.
Jefferson then had chances to score but didn’t take advantage. Early in the second quarter, the Jaguars drove 42 yards to White’s 38, where Butler threw incomplete under duress on fourth-and-6. On their next possession, the Jaguars drove from their 17 to the Cardinals’ 23, but the drive ended with consecutive incompletions, the last coming at 1:13 before halftime.
Jefferson rushed for 142 yards, passed for 74 yards and had nine first downs, clearly having the advantage in time of possession. However, the Cardinals’ two long runs were the difference.