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.
Spartans knock around Dragons
After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.
PV can’t get past Mathews
Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.
Matthews 8, PV 2
FRIDAY, APRIL 18
Geneva at Edgewood (11)
Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
Madison at Euclid (4:30)
Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
Conneaut at Madison (4)
It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.
A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses
I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:
- GANG GREEN
THURSDAY, APRIL 17
Grand Valley at Maplewood (4:30)
St. John at Lawrence (4:30)
Mathews at PV (4:30)
Fairport at Perry (7:30)
West Geauga at Madison (4:30)
Harvey at Riverside (4:30)
Jefferson at Harding (5)
Pymatuning Valley graduate Olivia Holt had a distinct reason she chose to play basketball for Mount Union.
“They do have tradition,” Holt, the daughter of Gus and Michelle Holt, said. “I’m from PV. We had a tradition of winning and working hard there. I wanted to go somewhere that tradition mattered. I knew I was going to get better by coming here.”
A Don McCormack column: Spring has sprung one big leak
Paying a Wednesday morning visit to the variety store...
If this, um, err, uh... spring... feels a bit unusual for high school baseball and softball teams in Northeast Ohio, it is, to a point.
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- Spartans knock around Dragons