The tears and emotions coming from the J.Z. George football team following Friday night’s 30-28 North 2A playoff loss to East Union High School told the story.
It matters to these players.
“We had a chance at the end, and that’s all we could ask for,” said J.Z. George head coach Rusty Smith. “I’m so proud of the effort these guys gave out there. They played their hearts out. They believed they could come back and win this game when we got down 21-0.
“That was the last game for the seniors. It’s time now for the younger kids to step up and take this program to the next level.”
East Union (9-1) advances to play North Side in the North 2A semifinals next week. North Side beat Eupora 30-8. The Jaguars end their season at 6-6.
Trailing 24-14 to start the fourth quarter, the Jaguars made things interesting as junior quarterback Jordun Normal threw a 19-yard TD strike to junior wide receiver Ken Head. Senior Wil’Tavious Williams then hit junior Ja’Ravion Seals with a two-point conversion pass to make it 24-20 with 7:49 remaining in the game.
The Urchins took the ensuing kickoff at their 38-yard line and put together a 10-play drive. They used just over five minutes off the clock and capped the series with a five-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Hayden Frazier. However, the point after sailed wide right, leaving the score at 30-22 with 2:43 to play.
J.Z. George wasted little time in moving down the field. Starting at their own 39, Normal and Williams connected for an 18-yard gain to East Union 43-yard line. Normal then raced around the left end for an eight-yard gain, and on second down, he found a wide open Seals in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with 2:06 showing on the clock. On the try for two, Normal was intercepted by East Union’s Thad Bell.
J.Z. George attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by the Urchins at the 43. They ran three running plays to run out the clock on the Jags, who didn’t have a time out remaining.
East Union led 7-0 after the first period as running back Colton Plunk scored from three yards out. The PAT was good by Edgar Zapata.
The Urchins scored twice in a one-minute span in the second period as Plunk got in from two yards out, and Connor Timms returned a Normal intercerption 40 yards for a TD. They led 21-0 at the 5:44 mark.
The Jags bounced back on their first play following the interception return as Jacob Johnson raced 65 yards to the end zone. Williams’ two-point conversion run made it 21-8.
The Jags pulled to within six at 21-14 when Williams hit Alexander Criss for a 34-yard touchdown. East Union got a 32-yard field goal from Zapata right before the half to lead 24-14 at the break.
• Contact Calvin Stevens at 581-7234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.