Jeff Davis High’s football season came to an end Friday night in Eastman as the Yellow Jackets fell 39-21 to Dodge County.
But the Jackets didn’t give up without a fight, as they led 21-19 at halftime and made three strong goal line stands in the second half before the Indians wore them down, scoring 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Just before kickoff, a torrential downpour flooded the field and, throughout the game, the Jacket players were forced to stand in ankle deep water on the sidelines when they weren’t on the playing field.
The wet pigskin gave the Jackets fits, especially on long snaps. And Indian quarterback R.J. Carr was a thorn in the Jackets’ side all night long as he rushed for 184 yards and scored all five Dodge touchdowns. Highly rated kicker Peyton Bush was also a potent weapon for the Indians as the son of former Yellow Jacket kicker David Bush was 3-for-3 on P.A.T. kicks, 2-for-2 on field goal attempts and booted most of his kickoffs into the end zone.
The Jackets wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as they recovered an onside kick and quickly marched into the end zone. The big play in the short drive was a 30-yd. pass over the middle from Britt Metts to Emanuel Rumph that carried the ball quickly to the five yard line. Two plays later, Austin Wood carried the ball into the end zone off his left tackle for a 4-yd. score. Audiel Placencia kicked the P.A.T. to make it 7-0.
Dodge responded immediately. After recovering the onside kick at the Indian 49, they marched 51 yards to paydirt. A 42-yd. run covered most of the distance as Michael Dotson had to run down the runner from behind, stopping him at the Jacket 3. Two plays later, Dodge scored on a Carr keeper. Bush kicked the extra point to tie the score 7-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, Rumph took in Bush’s kick at the six, found a wall of blockers on the left sideline and raced 94 yards for the TD. James Wood took out the last would-be tackler at the Dodge 35 as Rumph went into the end zone untouched. Placencia’s kick made it 14-7.
Again, Dodge recovered the onside kick at its 49. They marched 51 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 4-yd. quarterback keeper to cut the score to 14-13. A low snap foiled the conversion attempt.
Dodge’s next TD was set up by a low snap on a Jacket punt attempt which gave the Indians the ball at the JD 27. A 20-yd. run moved the ball to the seven and, three plays later, Dodge got its third straight score on a Carr keeper to go up 19-14. Another low snap foiled the P.A.T.
After Bush’s kickoff went into the end zone, the Jackets took over at their 20. They ground out a first down and then a pass interference penalty moved the ball into Dodge territory. But the drive fizzled and Cade Walters retreated to punt the ball away on 4th-and-5. This time, the snap was a little high and the wet pigskin slipped through Walters’ hands. He picked up the ball at the Jacket 34, and raced around the left side where he was tackled at well short of a first down. But a flag against the Indians gave the Jackets a first down at the Dodge 40.
On the next play, Austin Wood took the ball around the left side, cut off a block from Jashaun Kirby at the line of scrimmage, and a block from Christian Ray at the 30. At the 25, Wood was met by an Indian defender, then another and a third joined the fray at the 18 and Wood carried the three tacklers for another 10 yards to the Dodge eight. Wood then picked up three and Kirby finished off the drive with a 5-yd. run up the middle for the score. Placencia made it 21-19.
Dodge immediately threatened to score again. With runs of 30 and 12 yards, the Indians quickly moved the ball to the Jeff Davis 24. But a fumbled handoff was recovered by Rumph at the 28 and the Jackets took over.
Kirby then got the call four straight plays and he picked up a couple of first downs, moving the ball to the Dodge 42 with runs of 8, 2, 6 and 14 yards. But time ran out on the second quarter clock five plays later and the halftime score stood at 21-19 in favor of the Jackets.
The second half started out like a nightmare. The Jackets took the kickoff but couldn’t move the chains and Walters retreated to punt the ball away on 4th-and-1. This time the snap was perfect but a defender got through to block the punt and Dodge took over at the JD 29.
Austin Wood darted into the backfield to bring down an Indian runner for a loss but on the next play a 16-yd. Carr run moved the ball to the 14. After a 3-yd. run, Gerardo Villareal nailed Carr for a 3-yd. loss. Another Carr run picked up eight but it wasn’t enough for the first down and Bush came on to boot a 24-yd. field goal to put Dodge in front 22-21.
A penalty against the Jackets on the kickoff pushed the ball to the JD 10, from where the Jackets put together a 10-play drive that reached the Dodge 24. Metts scrambled for a 9-yd. pickup on the first play and four plays later Metts connected with James Wood for an 11-yd. pass play to the 31. Then Kirby took the ball up the middle and raced through the Dodge defenders without being touched as he broke into the open. He was finally pulled down from behind 42 yards later inside the Indian 30. Austin Wood then took the ball around the left side for 11 yards to the Indian 16. But then a run for no gain and a flag against the Jackets pushed the ball to the 26 and on the next play an Indian defender picked off a Metts pass and returned it all the way to the Jacket six where Austin Wood made a touchdown-saving tackle.
With 1st-and-goal at the six for Dodge, the JD defense turned rock-solid. Three straight runs got the Indians only to the four and Bush came on to boot his second field goal on the second play of the final quarter to make it 25-21.
On their next possession, the Indians went 68 yards in just two plays to go up 32-21 and things looked bleak for the Jackets.
The first blow on the final nail in the coffin came with an interception that gave Dodge the ball at the Jeff Davis 32. They scored five plays later on a 20-yd. Carr keeper to make the final score 39-21.
Score by quarters:
JDHS 14 7 0 0 -21
DCHS 7 12 3 17 -39