Jamestown High took advantage of a short field to get the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter of its 13-12 win over Grafton on Saturday at Wanner Stadium. The victory is the Eagles’ first of the season.
The Eagles trailed 12-7 early in the fourth quarter when they took over at the Grafton 36-yard line following a punt. On second down, Jamestown quarterback Hunter Brittain completed an 11-yard pass to Yuri Passenita to the Grafton 21.
Two plays later, Passenita ran off tackle and broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage en route to a 17-yard touchdown with 10:20 remaining. That gave the Eagles (1-3, 1-2 Bay Rivers District) a 13-12 lead they held, thanks to a defense that limited the Clippers to one first down on their final three possessions.
“I got hit and just kept running and didn’t stop,” Passenita said. “I just dug in. I thought (the Grafton defender) had me, but I knew not to give up.”
Grafton played its best football of the season in the first half. Defensively, the Clippers (1-3, 0-3) stuffed the run on the strength of crisp tackling led by linebackers Reuben Williams and Brody Blaylock.
The Clippers, by contrast, ran the ball very well in the first half, gaining 191 yards on 23 attempts. They drove 69 yards on 11 plays on their first possession, a drive capped by Kalani McLean’s 5-yard run that gave Grafton 6-0 lead. Jamestown’s Drew Wilder blocked the point-after attempt.
Grafton’s lead stretched to 12-0 midway through the second quarter on a five-play drive highlighted by a 59-yard sweep around left end by McLean, who ran for 115 of his 155 yards in the first half. Grafton quarterback Demetrius Moore ran 11 yards for the touchdown on a bootleg after deftly faking a pitch, but his 2-point pass attempt was incomplete.
Unable to run, the Eagles went to the air to cut the deficit to 12-7 with a 56-yard touchdown drive, capped by a Grafton pass-interference penalty and Brittain’s 10-yard pass to Tyler Highley on a slant. Jack Dawson’s extra-point kick and improved form in the second half would prove crucial.
“Hats off to Grafton,” Jamestown coach Donnell Brown said. “They were scrappy and kind of fell into a rhythm offensively and found something that worked best for them.
“We felt like we made a lot of mistakes in the first half and I challenged our guys at halftime, ‘You decide what we want to do in the second half.’ ”
O’Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963 and follow on Twitter @MartyOBrienDP