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Jackson comeback falls short vs. Vashon
The Indians had a late drive end on downs in a 21-20 loss Saturday afternoon
ST. LOUIS -- Jackson's offense proved the most adept at stopping Vashon quarterback Darren Fowlkes.
The Indians controlled the ball in the second half and mounted a rally Saturday at Soldan High School.
But the Wolverines stopped Ethan Ruch on fourth-and-2 at the Vashon 21-yard line to thwart the rally. Fowlkes kneeled down twice to ice the Wolverines' 21-20 victory.
"We never gave up," Jackson coach Van Hitt said. "When it was 13-0, we could have folded the tent and gotten beat 50-0. It very easily could have happened, but we fought back and fought back and gave ourselves a chance at the end and came up just a little short."
Vashon (2-4) looked in control when Fowlkes threw his third touchdown of the game, a 27-yarder to Michael Hickman to give the Wolverines a 21-6 lead.
But Jackson (2-4) refused to go away. Indians quarterback Bobby Clark attacked through the air, finding Blake Stone for a 12-yard gain before floating a pass over the defense to Brandon Wright, who streaked untouched for a 63-yard score.
"They were playing a soft cover-3 and we just kept throwing it underneath, then we hit them over the top a couple times when they did come up," Clark said.
Fowlkes returned to the field and led the Wolverines inside the Jackson 10-yard line. He completed three passes for 65 yards on the drive.
"We got real good foot speed and I don't think nobody in the state of Missouri runs routes how we run," Fowlkes said. "They was leaving the middle of the field and the sidelines open, and that's what we attacked."
But the Jackson defense stiffened. After three runs didn't find the end zone, Fowlkes tried to find a receiver in the back of the end zone, but the throw was high and Jackson took over on downs.
"It kind of kept momentum on our side," Hitt said.
Clark went back to the air and led his team 93 yards on 10 plays, capped by a Clark keeper from 1 yard out to pull the Indians within a point at 21-20 with 4 minutes, 8 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The Indians tried the onside kick, and Devan Wolpers recovered it along the left sideline to give Jackson hope.
"We went ecstatic," Ruch said. "It was crazy. We were all pumped up and it's kind of hard to say it now, but when we got it, the attitude was we're going to win, and we had a chance to win."
Jackson closed to the Vashon 21-yard line and faced a fourth-and-2.
"I was nervous, but I figured we'd pull it out," Fowlkes said.
Hitt never wavered on the play call. The plan was for Clark to try to get the defense to jump then the ball was going to Ruch.
"As loud as I could yell, but I think they knew it was coming," Clark said of his volume for his calls at the line before the snap.
Ruch tried the right side but was taken down after a 1-yard gain.
"They just overloaded that side and they played it good," Ruch said. "We'd been killing them with it all game, and they finally figured it out when it counted."
The Indians' comeback was sparked by the offense's ability to keep the defense off the field. Jackson's first touchdown of the second half came after a 16-play drive that lasted 8:06.
"They are so athletic and explosive," Hitt said about Vashon's offense. "We have a hard time containing them. The running back is a great running back and their receivers can fly and the quarterback can get the ball to them."
Vashon only ran 13 offensive plays in the second half before the two kneel-downs at the end.
"I like to be on the field, but it felt good to just relax," Fowlkes said.
Clark finished with 254 yards passing, and 196 of those came after halftime.
"We saw what they were doing in the first half," Clark said of his second-half success. "We felt we could take advantage of it in the second half. Running the ball also helped it. The first couple of drives we ran the ball well then we made them have to honor that."
Fowlkes completed 14 of his 20 attempts for 272 yards and three scores.
The Indians return to action Friday when they host Farmington at 7 p.m.
V -- Kinnes Jackson 12 pass from Darren Fowlkes (Gavin Connelly kick), 3:27
V -- Carlee Hemphill 20 pass from Fowlkes (kick blocked), 5:58
J -- Ethan Ruch 1 run (pass failed), 3:54
V -- Michael Hickman 27 pass from Fowlkes (Fowlkes run), 1:23
J -- Brandon Wright 63 pass from Bobby Clark (pass failed), :03
J -- Clark 1 run (Clark run), 4:08
RUSHING -- Jackson, Ethan Ruch 27-119, Austin Gonzaque 1-5, Levi Rutherford 2-8, Bobby Clark 11-38, Lowgn Wren 1-11. Vashon, Kinnes Jackson 7-72, Darren Fowlkes 7-32, Tyler Lomax 9-57, Derrick Mitchell 1-14, Team 2-(-2).
PASSING -- Jackson, Bobby Clark 16-26-254-0. Vashon, Darren Fowlkes 14-20-272-0.
RECEIVING -- Jackson, Chris Poyner 5-52, Mark Copen 1-(-1), Blake Stone 4-72, Ethan Ruch 3-53, Brandon Wright 3-78.