Jesuit’s murky postseason pitcure may be clearing a bit after a hard-fought 19-14 victory at Franklinton on Friday night.
It was a contest that wasn’t decided until the last second ticked off the clock.
The Blue Jays used a balanced offense led by quarterback Peter Hontas, who threw for 181 yards and three touchdowns.
“Franklinton was a real tough defense — different from what we’ve played in the Catholic League,” Hontas said. “They did a lot of blitzing and man (defense) and schemed us well. Franklinton is a very well-coached team.”
Special teams provided Jesuit (4-5) with a short field on its first possession as Malachi Hull returned a punt to the Demons 31. From there, it took Jesuit six plays to reach the end zone as Hontas hit Bryce Musso for a six-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead halfway through the first quarter (the extra point missed).
Franklinton (6-3) followed with a pair of defensive stops and then drove the ball 75 yards, including a fourth-down conversion and a fake punt. However, the Blue Jays defense stopped the drive at their 15 and responded with a 15-play, 85-yard march, capped off by Hontas’ second touchdown pass — this time a 20-yard strike to Kalija Lipscomb for a 13-0 lead.
“We’ve been getting better each week as a football team and our record is a bit deceptive because early on, we were beating ourselves with a lot of mistakes,” Jesuit coach Mark Songy said. “Coming in here, we knew we couldn’t afford to make many and come out with a win. I’m proud of the way our team fought.”
Hontas connected in the third quarter with Musso, this time on a 33-yard score, pushing the Jesuit lead to 19-0.
Franklinton finally got into the end zone four minutes into the fourth quarter when Tahj Magee hit Azende Magee for a 5-yard touchdown pass, cutting into the Blue Jays lead, 19-7. They reduced the deficit even further on their next possession as Tahj Magee tossed 23 yards to Chandler Davis, getting to within 19-14.
“They gave us some good looks when I started rolling out of the pocket,” Franklinton quarterback Tahj Magee said. “Also, they changed the defense and forced us to do some different things. We never doubted ourselves and were able to get back into it.”
Franklinton looks to close out the regular season next week against Pearl River and the opportunity to capture the District 8-4A title.
“We weren’t able to get first downs and we got behind early,” Franklinton coach Shane Smith said. “When you play good people, you learn a lot about yourselves. Our kids found it what it will be like if we want to make that playoff run.”
Jesuit closes out the regular season against Brother Martin.