Football team remains eligible for state playoffs with 49-15 win over Harmon High School

Hanna Torline, sports editor

In the game determining state playoff eligibility, the Jaguar football team pulled off a 49-15 win over the J.C. Harmon High School Hawks on Friday, Oct. 21.

The first of Harmon’s two touchdowns came less than three minutes into the game. The Jaguars went three and out and then the Jag defense gave up a 69-yard touchdown run to the Hawks and a two-point conversion to fall behind 8-0.

On the subsequent possession, the Jaguars answered with their first touchdown of the night with a pass from junior quarterback Skyler Windmiller to senior wide receiver Wade Hanna at the Harmon 11-yard line. Junior running back Kendall Short capped the touchdown drive with two rushes to put the Jags on the board 8-6 with 6:13 remaining in the first quarter. The extra point by senior kicker Andrew Wesp brought the score to 8-7.

From this point on, the Jaguar defense refused to let Harmon into the end zone until the final play.

On third and 11 at the Jaguar 16-yard line, senior defensive tackle Zach Callahan and junior defensive end Tim Thomas caused a 6-yard loss and an incomplete pass on fourth down, turning the ball over to the Jaguars. After arriving into Hawk territory, the Jaguars punted the ball back to the Hawk 26-yard line.

With Harmon facing a first and 25 after a 15-yard penalty, senior corner Ethan Rice intercepted a Harmon pass and ran it into the end zone to put the Jaguars ahead. A failed two-point conversion kept the score at 13-8.

On Harmon’s next possession, a tackle for a loss of seven yards and a quarterback sack by Thomas forced the Hawks to punt from their own 25-yard line. An errant snap flew over the head of the kicker, and sophomore defensive back Alex Rounds tackled the punter at the Harmon 19-yard line, beginning the Jaguars’ drive in the red zone.

A 14-yard touchdown pass to Hanna and a successful two-point conversion put the Jaguars ahead 21-8 with 9:35 remaining in the first half.

The Jaguar defense once again forced the Hawks to punt. However, on fourth and six at their own 23-yard line, the Harmon snap flew over the punter’s head and was recovered in the end zone by sophomore outside linebacker Micah Clark for a Jaguar touchdown. An extra point by Wesp increased the Jag lead to 28-8 with the second defensive touchdown of the night.

After the Jaguar kickoff, the Hawk quarterback hit his wide receiver for a short pass, but after breaking several tackles, the receiver was in the clear and heading for a Hawk touchdown when he dropped the ball but was able to fall on it to retain possession. This was a costly error as the Hawks were once again held on fourth down by the Jag defense.

The half ended with the score still 28-8 after both teams were unable to score on their final possessions of the first half.

On the first drive of the second half, after Thomas recorded his fourth sack of the night, the Jaguar defense again held the Hawks on downs and the Jags took over in Hawk territory with 9:40 left to play in the third quarter.

“I was really happy about [my sacks],” Thomas said. “They were really a team effort.”

With the ball on the Harmon 16-yard line after a run by junior running back Staton Rebeck, a touchdown run by Hanna and two- point conversion by Windmiller put the Jags up 36-8.

On their next possession, the Hawks found themselves facing third and 16 at their own 5-yard line. In an effort to avoid a safety, the Hawk quarterback tried to throw the ball away, but was intercepted by junior strong safety Jake Theis to give the Jaguars the ball inside the ten-yard line.

Two runs by Rebeck put the Jags up 42-8 after the extra point attempt by Wesp bounced off the goal post.

The Jaguar defense continued its run with interceptions on each of the next two Harmon possessions. The first, by junior wide receiver L.J. Hatch, was returned to the Jag 45-yard line, but the Jaguar offense fumbled the ball back to the Hawks at their 34-yard line. The second, by junior cornerback Ryan Bath, was caught in the Jaguar end zone for a touchback.

After a 10-yard penalty on the Jags, sophomore quarterback Drew McGee practiced handing the ball off to sophomore running back Nick Wilson as the Jaguar drive lasted for seven minutes and 43 seconds, consisted of 15 straight carries by Wilson and resulted in seven points being added to the Jaguar score.

The final Harmon drive began at their own 21-yard line with 3:45 remaining in the game and ended with a 36-yard touchdown pass as time ran out on the clock, bringing the final score to 49-15.

If the Jaguars win their next game at Turner High School on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. they will advance to the state playoffs.

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