Cougars roar back to down South Hagerstown, 48-42
Would the fourth-quarter clock be gone before Jefferson could fully complete its full-bore comeback against homestanding South Hagerstown’s Rebels?
The Cougars had once trailed by 22 points deep into the second quarter. They had been scarred by a 42-point first half by the Rebels.
But with several of Jefferson’s offensive starters (stars) being brought to the second-half defense, the Rebels could never score again.
The scoreboard at School Stadium still had South Hagerstown ahead by a point . . . and it finally showed just nine seconds remaining as the Cougars reached the Rebel 11.
It was then that receiver Christian Johnson used his considerable 6-foot-2 body to keep a desperate defender from getting a hand on a Isaac Myers’ pass that the Cougar all-stater grabbed himself for the winning points. It was Johnson’s third TD reception of the night . . . which ended seconds later with a 48-42 Jefferson win.
Jefferson was 7-2 and in the catbird’s seat for a Class AAA, first-round playoff game at home in Shenandoah Junction when the post-season firing begins on the weekend of November 13-14. The Cougars held the No. 6 rating prior to outscoring the Rebels, and the top eight teams in the final ratings will get to host first-round games. The Rebels went to 5-4 overall.
If the writer Charles Dickens had been in attendance, he could have called the thrilling and unlikely game a “Tale of Two Halves” because South Hagerstown used three interceptions of Myers’ passes and long run after long run to notch 42 first-half points . . . and Jefferson secured the wild and woolly win with a 21-point second half where it also muzzled the Rebels with a scoreless half.
South Hagerstown had six touchdowns in the first half . . . and could not score in the second half.
Jefferson had four touchdowns in the first half, but also scads of mistakes, some poor tackling and lost three interceptions.
All the long runs and longer pass reception-runs through the grasping-at-air Jefferson defense gave the Rebels 371 yards of first-half total offense. But then Jefferson’s defense held the struggling Rebels to just 53 yards of offense in the last half.
Marcus Burns ran for two Jefferson scores in the frantic first half, while Johnson and Jimmy King scored on pass plays.
While the Rebels fired blanks with their second-half offense, Jefferson got scores from Jeffrey Gaskins and Johnson before Johnson’s last-seconds grab of Myers’ throw.
Burns gouged the Rebel defense for 156 rushing yards.
Trailing by 22 points? No problem. Bring in Johnson and Myers to the second-half defense and have Delonte Berry start making tackles and the find-a-way Cougars bounced back with a shutout half and a last-seconds score that had South Hagerstown fans pointing to a large end zone banner that read: “South Hagerstown Rebels protect our house” and shaking their collective heads at the head-spinning collection of plays they just witnessed.