Turnovers are a killer. It’s very simple.
The Jefferson Falcons put together a ground game Friday night that the Campbell Memorial Red Devils did not have an answer for as they rolled up 308 yards, but still came up short 20-19, thanks to three costly fumbles that in essence, killed momentum.
“We have to hang onto the ball,” Jefferson coach Jimmy Henson said. “That team, I believe created five to six turnovers coming into this game. They are very good at it and they attack it. We put it on the deck and it cost us a couple of times.”
No turnover was costlier than that of a Jefferson fumble at his own 35 that was scooped up by Adrien Brown, who increased the Campbell Memorial lead to 14-0 with 1:09 left in the first half.
The Falcons (1-3, 0-2 in All-American Conference) had weathered the storm after an early Red Devil touchdown put Jefferson down 7-0 a little less than four minutes into the game only to see that play ultimately decide the outcome when all was said and done.
“Our defense was very opportunistic,” Campbell Memorial coach Mickey Sikora said. “We kept on battling till the end. We played better in the first half, but they started hitting us on that off tackle.
“You have to give them some credit, though. When the chips were down, we came and made some plays at the end.”
A steady dose of freshman Jeremiah Knight (33 carries for 225 yards) and Justin Butler (13 carries, 83 yards) saw the Falcons in Campbell territory most of the first half only to see their first drive stall at the 22 and the first of three fumbles ended another drive — this time at the Red Devil 15.
Despite the backbreaker with less then two minutes remaining in the first half, the Falcons immediately picked themselves back up and got on the scoreboard five plays later on Knight’s 25-yard run with nine seconds left in the first half to make it 14-7.
Seemingly losing no momentum from where they left off in the first half, the Falcons went on a 6-play, 55-yard drive, with Knight’s 9-yard run making it 14-13 with 9:12 left in the third quarter.
“I thought we played a really hard-fought game,” Henson, whose team played without starting senior quarterback Cole Erdel, said, “Both sides of the ball were getting after it. Both teams had opportunities and they got one more point than we did.”
Campbell Memorial showed some fight when it mattered, though, as Stephan Elash found D.J. Harrison from 4 yards out to increase the lead to 20-13 halfway through the third quarter.
On the very next drive, it was again more of Knight and Butler as they seemingly took turns play after play to get Jefferson again within a point as Knight’s third touchdown of the night — a 5-yard scamper — made it 20-19 with seven seconds left in the third quarter.
Henson elected to roll the dice since the Red Devils seemingly had no answer for the Falcons’ running game, but again a fumble on the exchange between Knight and quarterback Lucas Hitchcock kept the score 20-19 in favor of Campbell Memorial.
“I wanted to get the lead,” Henson said. “We talked about it and I made the decision. The way we were moving the ball, I thought we could run it in and get the lead and we would be in control. It didn’t work out that way.”
After consecutive three-and-outs by the Red Devils, Jefferson again moved the ball at ease, only to come up short at the Red Devils’ 8-yard line as it decided against a 25-yard field goal attempt and again, this time at the Red Devils’ 40, as the first half seemed to creep into their play with drives stalling.
It was an interesting night for both squads with 10 players suspended between them — four for Jefferson, six for Campbell Memorial — as it really came down to who would make a play when it mattered most.
“It was very exciting,” Sikora said. “We had some unforeseen things that happened the past couple of weeks. I’m just very proud the way our kids stuck in there and fought through it.”
Henson declined comment about the suspensions.
Fortune is a freelance writer from McDonald.
Turnovers do in Jefferson in loss at Campbell Memorial
Turnovers are a killer. It’s very simple.
A Bob Ettinger column: Thanks for the memories
As Perry wrestler Billy Miller stepped off the podium on the floor at Ohio State’s Value City Arena last Saturday, state championship medal around his neck, it hit my mind that it was over. The 77th Ohio State Wrestling Tournament had reached its culmination late Saturday night. There were no more matches to watch, coaches and wrestlers to interview or pictures to be taken.
ACBF HOF Series: Mighty Mike
Mike Blauman was an All-Ohio baseball player at Geneva High School.
He was a star in football in both high school and college, good enough to be selected for the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Chase-ing a dream
For Jefferson athlete David Chase, there were plenty of possibilities for where to go to college or what sport to play.
A Don McCormack column: Way to go, all for our friend, Joe!
Paying an end-of-a-busy-and-eventful week visit to the variety store...
No average Joe
You can bet, Joe “Pigskin” Pete, one of the best guys this guy has ever had the pleasure calling a friend, will be wearing his trademark grin as he looks down tonight.
Girls from regional squads headline Classic opener
Following on the heels of the celebrations in Geneva and Andover with the Geneva and Pymatuning Valley girls basketball teams playing in the Division II and III regional tournaments, respectively, there is one final party left on the calendar.
Plenty of star power will be on top for boys in Classic
With basketball season officially ending last weekend for teams in the Star Beacon coverage area, it’s time to look forward to the fun of the offseason.
FRIDAY, MARCH 7
Joe “Pigskin” Pete Alumni Basketball Tournament (4:30, Falcon Gym, Falcon Junior High Gym, Falcon Elementary Gym, Jefferson)
A gallant run
With Beachwood’s attention certain to be focused on Geena Gabriel, Pymatuning Valley coach Jeff Compan’s plan Wednesday night was to utilize the pick-and-roll. The Beachwood Bison were able to thwart it, and eventually frustration set in, as did the only loss of the year for the Lakers.
A Bob Ettinger column: Offensive issues do in Lakers
From beginning to end, the Pymatuning Valley girls basketball team had an experience it hadn’t had all season and spelled the end of the season in a regional semifinal at Cuyahoga Falls High School on Wednesday night.
A Don McCormack column: Classics are set for Tuesday
With all the excitement this week with the Geneva and Pymatuning Valley girls involved in regional tournament play, it would be easy for what has become a rite of passage in this area for more than three decades to get lost in the shuffle.
- More Sports Headlines
- A Bob Ettinger column: Thanks for the memories