A goal line turnover followed by York’s end-to-end scoring drive was enough to sap any momentum Jamestown had been building as the Falcons pulled away for a 32-6 win Thursday at Wanner Stadium.
Early in the second quarter, the Eagles’ Oliver Herczeg broke a 60-yard run down the left sideline to the Falcons’ 1-yard line. But before Jamestown could punch the ball into the end zone and cut into York’s 14-point lead, the Falcons’ Cole Lytle recovered a fumble, and the Falcons went 99 yards in 14 plays. The last three yards came on a Josh Marteniez touchdown run, and the drive chewed up nearly eight minutes of clock.
“If there’s a backbreaking play, that was it,” said York coach Doug Pereira of the goal-line turnover. “There’s no doubt. And then for us to take it 99 yards like that, that defense is now sucking wind. We were very happy to be able to move the ball methodically down the field.”
Eagles coach Donnell Brown said the turnover and York’s length-of-the-field drive hurt.
“That was definitely a big turning point in the game,” Brown said. “You look at it, that’s a 14-point swing. We could have punched it in and got seven.”
After being flagged for intentional grounding in its own end zone for a safety, Jamestown went down 24-0 at the half and had to go more to the passing game to try and erase the deficit.
But three straight second-half drives for the Eagles stalled in York territory, the last two at the York 5 and 4-yard line, respectively. Jamestown also had an apparent touchdown wiped out on an illegal man downfield penalty.
“We felt like we really needed to step up our game this week, and we really wanted to go right at them to see if we were capable of doing that,” Pereira said. “And the guys were able to do that very well.”
Jamestown finally got on the scoreboard with 3:07 left in the fourth quarter with a 9-yard scoring strike from quarterback Hunter Brittain to Yuri Passanita.
The Falcons closed out the scoring with Jayden Flood-Brown’s 17-yard scamper to the end zone and John Cassidy’s two-point conversion run.
“York came in here prepared, they came in here with a mission and they came and played a great game,” Brown said. “So hats off to York.”
Keiston Hutcherson, who rushed for a game-high 86 yards on 20 carries, scored the first two touchdowns of the game. Hutcherson bounced outside and ran in from 24 yards and then scored again from 6 yards in the second quarter.
“Keiston is a guy that sees that hole and hits it hard,” Pereira said. “We were doing a pretty decent job of making the hole for him, but he was persistent. That was the big thing with him, even if he got two or three yards on a play, he’s still running the next play as hard as he could.”
Hutcherson gave credit to the offensive line.
“I’m absolutely nothing without my o-line,” Hutcherson said. “They give me holes, and I just find them and hit them. For them to give me those play after play, it’s a blessing.”
The Falcons had 205 rushing yards and 303 yards of total offense while the Eagles had 198 total yards, 145 of those in the second half after they fell behind 22-0.
“Offensively, we were able to move the ball pretty much at will most of the time,” Pereira said. “We stopped ourselves a few times there. Defensively, we were stellar.”
Brittain was 11-of-19 for 118 yards and was sacked three times and pressured on numerous other occasions, but the Eagles held the Falcons mostly in check in the second half other than the late touchdown.
“We did battle back in the second half, but you get that far in the hole in the first half, it’s tough to come out of,” Brown said.
York (5-2, 4-2 Bay Rivers District), which bounced back from a loss to Lafayette last week, next plays Warhill Oct. 19 while Jamestown (2-5, 2-4 Bay Rivers) faces the Rams Oct. 20. The Falcons continue a remarkable turnaround from a 1-9 season a year ago.
“It was an important bounce back for us,” Pereira said. “Going forward, with these next three opponents (Warhill, New Kent and Poquoson), I feel like we’re all kind of in the same pot. So we really have to step our game up to give ourselves a chance at a decent playoff position and defeat these guys, basically.”