Southside’s halftime lead dissipates in loss to Jones Senior
Published 11:20 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2016
CHOCOWINITY — Jones Senior quarterback A.J. Taylor accounted for four second-half touchdowns to help the Trojans erase a 24-6 halftime deficit to defeat Southside, 36-30, for the first time in program history. Taylor had all five scores for the visitors: one passing and four on the ground.
The Seahawks were primed to strike first when Jones Senior fumbled the ball away. Damion Bond recovered it at the Trojan 6-yard line, but his side couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity. Southside failed faking a chip-shot field goal to turn it over on downs.
Taylor’s explosiveness took over from there. He erupted up the left side for a 92-yard touchdown run on the next play. The point-after rung off the left upright, and Jones Senior took a 6-0 lead with 6:57 in the first quarter.
“(Taylor) is a heck of a ball player,” Southside coach Jeff Carrow said. The Trojan signal caller had a game-best 179 rushing yards, and added another 59 through the air. “He played well. (Josh Jones) played well, defensively, for them. We knew they were going to be a tough team. They’re flying under the radar. They’re a well-coached team.”
“These kids don’t quit,” Jones Senior coach Lewis Hampton said. “They pulled themselves together at halftime and played hard. All of the credit goes to them, and for us to only have one practice since we were out of school, I’m proud of what they’ve done. It was a hard-earned win and they did a great job.”
Southside responded with three unanswered touchdowns of its own. Not to be one-upped, Kyle Hill, only needing a yard to move the chains, burst out on a long run of his own to carry the Seahawks into the red zone. Trajan Rhome scored from 10 yards out on the next play, and Hill got the 2-point conversion to put Southside ahead, 8-6.
Rhome ran 53 yards to set up a 4-yard touchdown by Brandon Sullivan. On Jones Senior’s ensuing drive, Hill made another big play with a third-down pass breakup to force a three-and-out.
The punt attempt was tipped, giving the Seahawks a short field. Ronald Dennis scooted 15 yards for another score, and Hill punched in his third conversion of the half to give Southside a 24-6 lead just before the intermission.
“(I told them) finish the game. Point blank,” Carrow said. “We’ve got to stay focused all the way through and play four quarters of ball.”
The Seahawks were without the services of Hill and leading rusher Zikijah Crawford for most of the second half. They struggled to move the ball, even with other proven players like Rhome, Sullivan and Dennis.
“We just couldn’t get in a rhythm in the second half. We tried different formations, but we stalled and turned the ball over,” Carrow said.
Jones Senior took advantage. Taylor connected with Khadre Brooks on a 14-yard touchdown. The Trojans forced the Seahawks to punt. They moved the chains by drawing a penalty on fourth-and-4, and Malik Brooks hauled in a 37-yard pass to set up Taylor’s second rushing touchdown.
With their lead trimmed to two, 24-22, the Seahawks had some life breathed into them after a quiet third quarter. Joe Myers received the ensuing kickoff and, as time expired, ran it 97 yards to the house. It gave them a 30-22 lead going into the fourth.
“At that point, that was big,” Carrow said. “We stalled on offense. It was an uplift there, but we’ve got to play four quarters of ball.”
The momentum fizzled shortly after when a big interception return by Demetrius Ebron was called back by a penalty. Another touchdown and 2-point conversion by Taylor knotted the game at 30 apiece with 10:20 to play. With 7:49 to go, he put in the decisive score from a yard out.
Quarterback Marshall Medlock and Ebron hooked up to move the chains twice, but Zach Brooks came up with an interception in the end zone to all but assure a Trojan victory.
Jones Senior improves to 2-0 in 1-A Coastal Plains Conference play. The Trojans host Northside on Friday. Southside drops to 1-2 in the league, and will be off until an Oct. 28 trip to Lejeune.