Jackets advance to South State Championship
The numbers in this game tell it all better than I could ever attempt to story tell.
1032 total yards of offense combined. 13 touchdowns / 529 yards of rushing and 503 passing.
The Jackets out ran (literally) the Tartars 520 yards to 9. The flip is that the Tartars passed for 396 yards to the Jackets 107. There is an obvious tell-tell sign here that let’s one know who is the better team. When you are one-dimensional as the Tartar’s are, all pass and little to no run ability, and add to that-you cannot stop the run, you are usually going to lose.
Both teams came ready to play and each went to its strengths on the first series of each.
Taylorsville took the opening kickoff and ran first, two yards, then did what they do best. A quick 9-yard pass for a first down, before a short pass of 12 yards turned into a 50-yard touchdown for the Tartars. One minute and eleven seconds into the game, and the rare scoreboard reflection of the Jackets down 0-7.
The Jackets took its’ first possession and used up 21 seconds including the kickoff return, before the scored on a 60 yard blast from Troderick Daniels. A missed PAT and the Jackets still trailed 6-7.
The Tartars tried to do anything they could on the next drive but two sacks on three plays, one by Racheem Booth, the second by Donovan Reggans and Gerald Reese stopped this drive and gave the Tartars a vision of what was to come. A punt of only eleven yards gave the Jackets good field position at Taylorsville 39 yard line.
The Jackets went straight to the run. What many expected, Jamal Peters was in at quarterback in the wildcat set up, but a two yard gain followed by a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, and the Jackets were heading backwards. Confusion on offense, a wasted timeout and then the run game got everything going again. A 29-yard scamper by Timothy Arnold brought the Jackets to the 24 yard line. But that was it, another penalty, a negative one-yard run, and the Jackets were out of plays turning the ball over on downs at the 28.
Run, pass, run, pass, run, pass netted 10 yards and Taylorsville punted again. This time only 15 yards, making the Tartars punter a good ally for the Jackets.
From the 50 yard line the Jackets ran off seven plays finished off by T-Rod on the last five yards scoring just as the second quarter had started. The two point run was no good and the Jackets took the lead 12-7 six seconds into the second quarter.
The Tartars got a good run back of the kickoff starting at the 48-yard line. A quick 9-yard slant pass and the Tartar’s were in business, so they thought. The very next play, Gerald Reese tackled the would be runner seven yards behind the line of scrimmage. An incomplete pass and the Tartars were back to punt again. This time 9 whole yards giving the Jackets great field position at the 40.
Three penalties and 3 runs, one for minus 9 yards and the Jackets were forced to punt. Jamal Peters stepped back to punt and no one thought he was actually there to punt, but he did, for 9 yards but the ball went 30 yards into the air, causing confusing by Taylorsville. The ball hit one of the receivers giving the Jackets a chance to recover which they did.
A rare defensive stand by Taylorsville and the Jackets went on a three and out. Jamal, again back to punt, this time for 4-yards.
Heavy pressure on the Tartar’s quarterback forced an incomplete pass, an intentional grounding on the next play, but flag was picked up, but a run of only one yard forced a third punt by Taylorsville.
Starting at the 15-yard line, the worst field position of the night, mattered little as T-Rod went 48 yards on the first play. Two more runs, then the wide receiver screen to Jamal Peters who takes off like a cheetah down the side line after its’ prey, and 32 yards to pay dirt. Two-point pass play was incomplete and the Jackets lead increased to 18-7.
Taylorsville went back to the pass completing 3 of 3, the last for 45 yards and the exchange of touchdowns continued. The two-point pass was incomplete and the Jackets lead cut to 18-13.
An onside kick by Taylorsville and two more completed passes and the half came to an end.
The Jackets had run for 211 yards in the first half and passed for 32, while Taylorsville had run for -12 yards and passed 10 of 15 for 167 yards.
The opening of the second half started like 98% of most second halves do for the Jackets. This time it was courtesy of Taylorsville, who elected to receive the opening kickoff of the first half and defer to the Jackets for the second half. Mistake.
The Jackets score almost every time they take the second half opening kickoff, and why should this week be any different? None.
The third quarter scoring feast started with a four-play drive by the Jackets finished by Mr. Touchdown, T-Rod Daniels from the 14 yard line. T-Rod finished the series scoring on a two point conversion run, giving the Jackets a two score lead 26-13.
Taylorsville came roaring back with five passes, completing four of them, the last for 38 yards and the lead cut to 26-20 after the kick PAT was good.
The scoring continued on the next possession of the Jackets on three runs, this time the last 29 yards by Ron Thompson, the two yard conversion by T-Rod was good and the Jackets lead increased by one more than before, now 34-20.
The exact same scenario as the Tartars last drive, 3 complete passes, one run and the last pass of 12 yards good for the 4th touchdown of the quarter, but the Jackets lead remained 34-27.
It was who would break in this bend but don’t break drama of a game.
It appeared that the momentum had switched to the Tartars with about 4 minutes left in the third quarter as the Jackets were pinned back at the 27-yard line after a tackle for an eight-yard loss by the defense of Taylorsville. The Jackets were facing a 3rd and 17 at the 28 yard line and facing a possible punt situation-not a good scenario based on the Jackets punting history.
The turning point of the ball game came here on the very next play-not by a huge run by any one of eleven capable runners, but by one of the unsung heroes of the Jackets this year, Timothy Arnold. Timothy has lead this team this year, not as the star, but as the silent leader of the team, going about leading the team to victory after victory.
Timothy scrambled and threw a perfect 32 yard pass and run to Xavier Harper, and then being hit by two defenders, threw another 32 yard pass and run to Kenny Island. Flipping the field, and taking the Jackets out of danger of having the game tied 34-34. Instead, the drive continued and the Jackets went up 42-27 and never looked back. Timothy went 3 of 3 on the drive for 75 yards and a touchdown.
This series was just, to most, the fifth touchdown of the 3rd quarter, but it was a defining moment in making the road to Starkville continue.
Jackets now lead 42-27 after a perfectly executed quick snap to Raschaud Green for the two-point conversion run.
The Jackets defense then stepped up stopping Taylorsville on its’ next drive forcing 3 straight incomplete passes from the 29 yard line.
The Jackets then took only four plays, 64 yards on the first play by none other, T-Rod Daniels, setting the Jackets up with a first and goal at the seven-yard line. T-Rod finished the drive with a five yard run, PAT no good, Jackets advanced their lead to 48-27.
Mr. ‘I-am-everywhere-tonight’ Jamal Peters picked off Taylorsville’s quarterback on their first play at the 50-yard line. It took only two plays to score on a broken defense, and this one was out of control. PAT no good 54-27.
The next series for Taylorsville ended the same way, as Jamal Peters intercepted for the second time in two series, returning the interception from the four-yard line to the 44-yard line.
Three more plays and this time Timothy Arnold went 38 yards to finish the drive. Jackets put this one to bed-60-27.
“What you did tonight is what I’ve been waiting for all year. We are not happy or satisfied with this win, we owe one to those Eagles. We’re going to work Sunday, and Friday we are going to Columbia and take one for the Jackets,” Mancuso told the team and large crowd on the field after the game.
There are so many that deserve recognition this week so this week I am going to list not my most valuable players, but Fridays game changers.
Troderick Daniels – 295 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns and 2 two point conversions.
Timothy Arnold – 4 of 5 passing 107 yards and one touchdown.
Jamal Peters – 1 catch 32 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 rushes for 3 yards, 2 pass interceptions, and punted twice, 4 tackles, 2 pass defensed.
The defensive line – allowing only 10 yards rushing all night on 16 carries.
The rematch is here, that everyone expected. The Jackets will travel to face East Marion-again for South State 2A Champion. The Jackets have beaten East Marion in regular season every year except this year. In playoffs the Jackets hold the edge here as well, only one major loss, thanks to a bounce pass that took the championship away from the Jackets in 2011 (East Marion lost the State title).
Many expect this to be a repeat of last game-at least that is what those in Marion County say, but those in the Jacket Nation believe that the Jackets have played the last three playoff games with the goal of the re-match in their minds-thus maybe the humiliation of its’ opponents.
East Marion barely one its’ last two games-scoring 28-26 and 22-14.
I said last week the Jackets would win by 35, they won by 33; this week they will win by the same. It will not be the same as before. The Jackets will come to play.
Game time 7:00 p.m. at East Marion. It will be a packed house; get there early.