SHENANDOAH JUNCTION – For the first half, and early in the third quarter of Friday’s home game with state Class AA-power Frankfort, Jefferson High School’s football team seemed on its way to a major upset.
The Cougars had opened up a 13-0 lead on the fourth-ranked Falcons, a team which, just one week earlier, stunned the top-rated Class AAA team in the state, Spring Mills High School, at Frankfort.
As the third quarter progressed in last Friday’s game, it soon became evident the momentum of the game was changing.
Frankfort reeled off 21 unanswered points on its way to a 28-19 win over Jefferson, dropping the Cougars’ record to 1-3. The Falcons go to 5-0 with the win.
While Jefferson was watching its chances of pulling off a shocker, about five miles away, in Charles Town, Washington High School’s football team was on the short side of what was turnout to be a blowout win by visiting, and four-time defending state Class AAA-champion, Martinsburg. The Bulldogs prevailed, 55-0, in a game where just about everything went wrong for the Patriots (2-3).
Jefferson was coming off a bye week, following a 52-28 road loss at Spring Mills two weeks ago. With an extra week of practice under their belts, the Cougars looked sharp, although they failed to convert on two early scoring opportunities inside the Frankfort 5-yard line.
Jefferson took a 7-0 lead with 2 minutes, 26 seconds to go in the first half when quarterback Sammy Roberts hit Spencer Powell with a short, 5-yard pass for a touchdown. Oren Humphries tacked on the extra-point kick. The Cougars took a 7-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Jefferson opened up the second half with a four-play, 68-yard scoring drive. This time Roberts hit Jon Gidney with a 54-yard touchdown strike on a post pattern, beating the free safety’s coverage by the Falcons, which extended the Cougars’ lead to 13-0.
It didn’t take long for Frankfort to crank up its game plan after that.
The Falcons got on the scoreboard with 5:24 to go in the third quarter. Quarterback Colton McTaggart pushed the ball in from one yard out. Corey Brieloff added the extra-point kick, putting Frankfort within striking distance, 13-7.
Five minutes later, the Falcons tied the score at 13 when Jansen Moreland scored on a 2-yard plunge. Brieloff’s kick gave Frankfort the lead for good, 14-13.
The Falcons made it a 21-13 game in the fourth quarter when Peyton Clark picked off a Roberts’ pass at his own 49, returning it 51 yards for a score. Frankfort closed out its scoring when Clark scored on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Jefferson’s final score of the game came late in the game when Roberts hooked up with Caysen Lanza on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Roberts’ passing accounted for all of Jefferson’s touchdowns, completing 18 of 43 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions.
“We ran mostly slants and post patterns,” Roberts said of his impressive passing day.
Even with Roberts’ passing numbers, Jefferson coach Craig Hunter was quick to point out missed opportunities early in the game proved very costly.
“We left 21 points off the scoreboard,” he said. “We had our chances early and couldn’t cash in on them. We’ve got to clean things up, step up and make the big plays when we need them.”
Powell had five receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown. Gidney had three catches for 112 yards and a score.
In Martinsburg’s shutout at Washington, the Bulldogs dominated possession time. In the first half, the Patriots were held to less than 10 minutes of possession time.
Todd Braxton scored on a 56-yard run on Martinsburg’s opening play from scrimmage. The Bulldogs (2-1) went on to a 27-0 lead after one quarter, then held a 34-0 lead at halftime.
Frankie Amore led Washington in rushing with 34 yards on 15 carries. Bryson Fleming rushed for 30 yards on 16 carries.
Jefferson goes on the road to Morgantown this Friday for a game at University High School. The Patriots host Frankfort this Friday.