COMMERCE — After last Friday’s loss, East Jackson Eagles’ head coach Gary Hughes said his team had to limit turnovers to stay in games.
On their first two drives Friday against Lakeview Academy, fumbles stalled promising drives but didn’t dampen the offense’s resiliency or spirit.
The Eagles notched their first victory Friday night at East Jackson, defeating the Lions 13-6 on a defensive stand with under two minutes left. They also matched their win total from the 2013 season.
East Jackson senior running back Taylor Murphy rushed for a game-high 216 yards and one touchdown. He also had one catch for 15 yards.
Junior quarterback Cody Harwick threw for 77 yards and sophomore kicker Ronan Veal connected on field goals from 23 and 27 yards.
“It was very similar to last week,” East Jackson head coach Gary Hughes said. “I felt like we controlled the line of scrimmage offensively.”
The Lions were led by senior quarterback David Abee’s 116 yards and one touchdown, but he also tossed two interceptions. He rushed for 40 yards as well.
Junior wide receiver Trystan Regnier snatched three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.
“The second half, we played a whole better,” Lakeview Academy head coach Matthew Gruhn said. “We were just a couple of plays away from, I think, winning the football game.
“At least we gave ourselves a chance, so that’s something positive we can move forward with.”
After holding the Lions to a turnover on downs and punt on its first two series, the Eagles fumbled twice. Both fumbles were recovered by the Lions’ defense.
However, two three-and-out drives by the Lions’ offense gave the Eagles’ new life and redemption for Murphy, who pounded his way to the end zone on a 15-yard run with 3:58 left in the first half.
Veal connected on his first field goal as the clock expired to end the half giving the Eagles a 10-0 halftime lead.
After a scoreless third quarter, Veal extended the Eagles’ lead to 13-0, connecting on a 27-yard field goal with 4:56 left in the game.
The Lions found the end zone when Abee hit Regnier on a 33-yard touchdown strike with 3:39 left.
The Lions’ defense forced an Eagles’ punt, but the rally fell short as a fourth-down pass play fell to the turf for an incomplete pass with just over a minute left in the game.
Next week, Lakeview travels to St. Francis. East Jackson is idle.