The East Gadsden Jaguars began their 2013 football season at home against the Eagles of Pine Forest. Despite the weather forecast, a nice crowd came out to support the Jaguars. Both teams’ offenses were unable to produce any points during their first few drives, but in the bottom of the first quarter, the Jaguars began to march downfield and after a few well executed plays, the home team scored on a 3-yard run up the middle with 1:34 left in the quarter, giving them a 7-0 advantage.
The Eagles hurt themselves on their next possession by committing a false start penalty and ultimately losing the ball on a fumble caused by Jaguar defender Jajuan Perkins on the first play of the second quarter. The visiting team continued to fight and with 10:00 remaining in the half, a nifty run put them on the Jaguars’ 29-yard line.
After a big stop by East Gadsden on a third-down play, the Eagles rolled the dice on a fourth down and converted the first down, and two plays later with 7:37 left in the half, an Eagle runner went in for a score. The visitors collected another costly false start penalty on the next play, resulting in an attempt of a longer extra-point kick, which they missed causing them to trail the Jaguars by a score of 7-6.
As the streaks of lighting began to increase and the wind began to pick up, East Gadsden quarterback Al Peterson began to air it out in an attempt to increase their lead. With 4:26 left in the half, he laid out a pretty pass that his receiver was unable to pull in.
With less than a minute left in the half, Peterson hit Jaleel Reynolds in stride as he sprinted across the middle of the field, which allowed him to run after the catch and make a few defenders miss as he turned up the field and ran down the left sideline to the Eagles’ 5-yard line. The Jaguars called a time out with 2:7 left in the half to set up for a field goal attempt. The kick was unsuccessful, and both teams ran off the field at halftime of a close 7-6 game.
The second half was delayed for about an hour as heavy rain fell and sharp lightening continued to streak the sky. East Gadsden started the third quarter with good field position after a nice return on the opening kick, but they were unable to capitalize by producing any points. With 8:10 left in the quarter, Peterson finally connected on a long ball to Ken’dre James down the right sideline for a score, and after a successful extra point attempt they increased their lead to 14-6.
With 3:29 left in the third quarter, the Pine Forest offense executed a big play that put them inside the Jaguar’s 10-yard line, but instead of producing points within the red zone, they turned the ball over on a fumble two plays later. Untimely penalties and turnovers haunted the Eagles for three quarters and kept them from cutting into East Gadsden’s lead.
The Jaguars opened up the fourth quarter attempting to expand on their lead by continually trying to connect on the long ball, but Peterson continued to overthrow his receivers. The Eagles had several chances to tie the game up in the last quarter of play but a combination of penalties and good play by the Jaguar defense prevented them from doing so. An interception by East Gadsden’s Devarous Johnson sealed the team’s victory with less than two minutes remaining, and after a few plays the Jaguars exited the field with a hard-fought 14-6 win over the Pine Forest Eagles.
When asked about his decision to put the ball in the air on offense, East Gadsden Head Coach Tracy Laing said, “We’re going to establish the run we are a running team, but we will take some shots down the field this season (because) we have the receivers to do so.”
Coach Laing had a very optimistic outlook when he gave his overall thoughts on the game. “I feel that the game went well; the team is growing. I think we’re coming together, and a lot of our younger players are stepping up.”
Next Friday at 7:30 p.m., the Jaguar’s will be taking on Rutherford High. Let’s come out and show our support.