Penalties, red zone failures lead to Jefferson loss
SPRING MILLS — A succession of penalties and three failures to score when inside the Spring Mills’ 12, were the main culprits in Jefferson’s 12-9 loss to the roster-depleted Cardinals as the Cougars remained winless with a 0-4 record.
Dressing only 28 players, the Class AAA Cardinals had people in positions foreign to them when they opened practice this summer.
But those players were stretched to the limit at times, especially when the Cougars moved within range of Spring Mills’ end zone. But an unrelenting series of penalties hung to the Cougars like steel weights, and a lost fumble and fourth-down incomplete passes kept the Cougars from scoring with their offense in the second half.
Spring Mills couldn’t score at all in the second half, struggling to gain any yardage on the ground and getting meager help from its pass offense. The only points in all of the second half came when Jefferson’s Brady Chrisman blocked an early third quarter punt and saw it fly out of the Spring Mills’ end zone for a two-point safety that erased some of the Cardinals’ 12-7 lead they had claimed at the half.
In the fourth period, just after Jefferson’s third failure inside the 12, Chase Henson breathed the final life into Spring Mills and its chances of somehow conjuring up a victory out of what became the unlikely mixture of Henson, barely enough points and the hardiness to blunt Jefferson within sight of its own end zone.
With only a little over three minutes left and Jefferson having used all its timeouts, Henson rushed for a critical first down at his own 23. Then another third-and-three faced the resilient Cardinals. Of course, it was Henson who got the necessary yardage through a thicket of would-be tacklers for another first down.
Two more personal fouls were charged to Jefferson, as the game came to a close
The Cardinals went to 3-1 with their wins over Washington, Hampshire and Jefferson and season-opening loss to Musselman.
Spring Mills managed two short scoring runs by Henson in the first half. Those 12 points were barely enough to build a 12-7 lead, because Jefferson only had a lone score on a Corbin Pierson-to-Spencer Powell pass at the close of a 16-play, 64-yard drive on its first possession of the weather-perfect night.
Points were few.
Spring Mills didn’t care. It had a win with its bandaged, bruised and some out-for-the-season players.