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Victory eludes Yellow Jackets

Ty Weaver

Terrance Clemons

Peyton Laney

Huddled up

The Jackets swarm a Berrien runner

Tre Rea is ready to snap the football

Friday night in Nashville, Jeff Davis High’s football team looked like it was about to win its first game of the season as they led Berrien County 24-14 late in the third quarter. And the Jacket defense had held Berrien’s offense in check all evening long.
Berrien’s 14 points at that point came on kickoff returns of 79 and 85 yards as the Rebel offense was helpless against the Jackets.
But just before the end of the third quarter, a Berrien lineman picked up a partially blocked point and ran 19 yards for a score. Then, in the fourth quarter, Berrien got rolling, scoring on a pair of 62-yd. runs, and a 20-yd. fumble return to snatch a 42-24 victory from the Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets kicked off to start the game and, rather than staying in their assigned lane, the kickoff team members on the left side of the field converged on the right side where the kick went. Berrien returned the kick around the right side 79 yards with ease to put the Rebels in the lead quickly. The P.A.T. made it 7-0.
The Jackets started their first possession at their own 24, ground out one first down and then had to punt the ball away as Berrien took over at their own 42. They couldn’t move the chains and punted to the Jacket eight.
Ty Weaver picked up 11 yards and two plays later, Terrance Clemons ran for nine and a first down at the JD 32. After Laney picked up eight, Carter Mullis took a snap in short punt formation on 2nd-and-2 and went around the right side with plenty of downfield blocking and picked up 20 to the Rebel 40.
Two plays later, Clemons picked up nine. On the first play of the second quarter, Laney dashed through a big hole in the middle of the line, broke a couple of tackles and carried all the way to the end zone for a 31-yd. TD. That completed a 9-play, 92-yd. drive. Fabian Valdelamar kicked the extra point and the score was tied 7-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, a Berrien returner picked up the kick at the 15, headed right, reversed field to the left, and then weaved his way through the Jackets for an 85-yd. kickoff return.
After the kick, Berrien led 14-7 and had yet to pick up a first down on offense.
Clemons had a good return on the kickoff to put Jeff Davis in business at their own 43. But they were penalized back to the 38 and, on 4th-and-11 Mullis retreated to punt. He tried a rugby style kick but got pressured, dodged a tackler and tried to kick on the run but it was partially blocked and the Rebels took over at the Jeff Davis 36.
But the swarming JD defense held and the Rebels punted the ball to the 13.
The JD offense then marched to the Berrien 20 but a holding penalty thwarted the drive. The big plays in the drive were an 8-yd. run by Laney, a 19-yarder by Laney, and a 39-yd. jaunt by Clemons to the Rebel 20 as the Jacket blockers cleared the way for him.
Laney then went deep on a pass route and got wide open in the end zone but quarterback Colby Beach barely overthrew him.
Two plays later, Laney scored on a 20-yd. run but a holding penalty nullified the score. On 4th-and-20, Valdelamar came on and kicked a 47-yd. field goal to make it 14-10. The freshman’s boot was one yard short of the school record 48 yards, kicked by Brian Creamer, 51 years ago, in 1971 against Appling County.
Valdelamar tried an onside kick after the score and Berrien recovered at their 45. The Rebels moved the ball as far as the Jacket 22, getting their first two first downs of the game, but the defense stiffened and, on 4th-and-7 a run fell short and time ran out in the first half.
JD took the second half kickoff and wasted little time taking the lead. Starting at their 28, they moved the ball to the 35 where, on 3rd-and 3, Clemons followed beautiful blocking to race 33 yards to the Berrien 32. On the next play, Laney took the ball on the right side, was seemingly stopped at the 28, but spun out of the grasp of two tacklers and raced into the end zone for a 32-yd. TD. Valdelamar booted the extra point and Jeff Davis led 17-14.
But the Jackets weren’t finished. Valdelamar again tried an onside kick and this time the Jackets recovered at the Berrien 45. It took them only five plays to cover the distance.
Clemons started the drive, dashing through a huge hole and taking the ball 28 yards to the 17. Laney then got seven and Weaver four for a 1st-and-goal at the six. After Clemons moved the ball to the five he then took the ball around the left side for the score. After Valdelamar’s kick, it was 24-14.
Neither team could move the ball on their next possession and when Mullis retreated to punt, his kick was partially blocked. That’s when the Yellow Jackets’ extreme youth cost them. As several Jackets watch the ball roll to a stop, they apparently thought the ball was dead. So did a huge Berrien linemen who suddenly realized the ball was live, scooped it up at the 19 and lumbered into the end zone. The kick made it 24-21 late in the third quarter.
Jeff Davis returned the kickoff to their own 45 and quickly moved the ball to the Rebel 13. Big plays in the drive were a 12-yd. pickup by Clemons and an 18-yd. run by Laney. But the drive stalled and Berrien took over at their own 15 early in the final quarter.
At that point in the game, the Yellow Jacket defense had all but stymied the Berrien offense, with the three Rebel touchdowns coming on two kickoff returns and a return of a fumble. Suddenly, the Rebel offense came to life. They quickly moved the ball out to the 38 on four plays, then the Berrien quarterback took the ball up the middle, cut to the outside and raced 62 yards for a touchdown to put the Rebels back on top 28-24.
After picking up a couple of first downs, the Jackets faced 4th-and-short close to midfield and freshman Karter Galbreath retreated into punt formation. But instead of punting, he threw a pass to a wide open freshman Latrell Sellers for a first down in Berrien territory.
But two plays later, Beach was sacked and then he threw a pass over the middle that Berrien intercepted at their own 28.
After a timeout, Berrien’s fullback took the ball around the left side and zoomed 62 yards to paydirt. The kick upped the lead to 35-24.
After the kickoff, Beach completed a pass to Clemons on the left side, but as he was hit by a defender, a big linebacker came up from behind and pulled the ball out of Clemons’ grasp. The big guy then broke three tackles as he made his way into the end zone. The P.A.T. kick made it 42-24.
With little time left on the clock at that point, that stood as the final score.

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