It’s Musselman that owns the fourth quarter
The last seconds of the third quarter had just elapsed off the scoreboard clock. Jefferson held a two-point lead over visiting Musselman.
Many Jefferson players and some coaches turned in unison toward the crowded home-side stands and raised four fingers. It was the universal sign football teams use to signify it’s the fourth quarter, the part of the game they are ready to dominate with their conditioning and overall excellence.
Jefferson didn’t dominate in the fourth quarter.
Musselman scored four touchdowns . . . blanked the error-prone Cougars . . . and carried a 40-15 win back to south Berkeley County.
Winless after two games, the Cougars will be at Hedgesville, now 2-1 overall, this week in the first of four consecutive road games. Musselman improved to 2-1 overall.
How did things get unhinged so quickly for the Cougars?
Ahead 15-13, Jefferson lost all its traction when another in a series of low snaps to Isaac Myers saw the Cougar quarterback separated from the football by a heavy Musselman rush.
Latrell Warr rambled through arm tackles for 15 yards, and then did the same on a scoring romp that gave the Applemen a 19-15 lead.
With poor field position after Musselman’s kickoff was bobbled, the Cougars were stung by another turnover . . . and Warr quickly broke free from the Jefferson eight for a 26-15 Applemen advantage.
It seemed as if the vat of misfortunes had more trouble in store for the Cougars.
Myers was forced into an 18-yard loss. And as soon as Musselman regained possession it was back in the Jefferson end zone on a 37-yard run through the middle of the Cougar defense. A two-point Jefferson lead had evaporated so quickly that Musselman led, 33-15.
Three Musselman touchdowns and not a Jefferson first down in between all the Applemen points.
The final points came after a Myers pass to Scooter Gaskins was complete . . . but then literally stolen away from Gaskins and returned 57 yards for Musselman’s fourth touchdown of the last quarter.
Jefferson’s early success had been woven by its defense and touchdowns on the ground by Jeremy Beach and a 42-yard Myers to Jimmy King scoring pass on the first play of the second quarter.
But the game had four quarters . .. and Musselman owned the fourth quarter.