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Jackson closes season with 48-24 district loss to Rockwood Summit
The score might not show it, but the Jackson football team believes it ended the season with a bit of respect.
The Indians gave Rockwood Summit a major battle well into the fourth quarter less than a week after being pounded into submission by Seckman.
Summit ultimately proved too strong as the visiting Falcons used a late three-touchdown flurry to pull away for a 48-24 victory Thursday night.
"I think we gained a little respect back in this one," senior Ethan Ruch said. "We came out strong. I think we surprised them."
Summit coach Mike Bellers said Jackson did not surprise the Falcons with its performance but still deserved credit.
"I commend them. Their kids played a good game. They did a great job," Bellers said.
It was Summit that got the job done in the end. The Falcons wrapped up the Class 5 District 1 title with a 3-0 record while improving to 6-4 overall.
"The last couple of years have been tough for us," Bellers said. "I'm happy this team had a winning season and won the district championship."
Jackson finished 3-7 and 1-2 in the district after last year's 1-9 season.
"You look at that scoreboard and think they wore us out. They didn't," Jackson coach Van Hitt said. "Summit is a very good team, but we played a very hard, physical football game.
"We did not have a victory, but with the effort we put into it, it certainly feels like a victory."
Ruch, Jackson's tough but undersized tailback, had 149 yards rushing on 19 carries. He finished the year with 1,010 yards.
"That's a really nice accomplishment," Hitt said of the 1,000-yard season. "I'm glad to see him do that."
Ruch is the type of player who leaves nothing on the field, but he wished he had back one play. It might have turned the contest in Jackson's favor.
Jackson, which never led but forged two ties, had the ball late in the third quarter trailing 27-24. It was the first time the Indians had possession with a chance to go ahead.
Ruch got behind the defense and senior quarterback Bobby Clark fired a perfect strike to about the Summit 30-yard line. The speedy Ruch would have had clear sailing to the end zone, but he dropped the pass.
"I catch that ball, it's six [points] and a brand new ballgame," Ruch said, shaking his head.
The Indians still drove to near the Summit 20-yard line, but sophomore Adam Brown -- who earlier nailed a 35-yard field goal -- was short on a game-tying 39-yard attempt in the first 15 seconds of the fourth quarter.
Summit answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive to make it 33-24, then intercepted two passes deep in Jackson territory that led to short touchdown drives.
The Falcons ended up with 21 points in a span of 2 minutes, 47 seconds to turn a tense battle into a romp.
"The game kind of got away from us there," Hitt said.
After Jackson went three-and-out on the game's opening possession, Summit scored to go up 7-0. That's the way the opening quarter ended.
The second period featured plenty of fireworks as both squads scored on their final three possessions, the result being a 20-17 Summit lead at the intermission.
"We hung with them," Ruch said.
Brown's 35-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter made it 7-3.
It was 10-3 when Ruch's 4-yard run tied things. That touchdown was set up by Ruch's 67-yard scamper.
The final 2:36 of the opening half featured 17 points.
After Summit went ahead 17-10 with 2:36 left, Clark and sophomore Lowgn Wren hooked up on a 54-yard touchdown pass with 1:05 remaining.
Summit drove 56 yards in what little time was left, and Justin Wittrock's 25-yard field goal on the final play of the half sent the Falcons to the break up 20-17.
The Falcons scored on the opening possession of the second half, but Jackson answered when Clark hit sophomore Brandon Wright with a 33-yard touchdown pass, making it 27-24.
Jackson hung tough for a while before the Falcons pulled away.
"Our kids fought tooth and nail all night," Hitt said.
Clark passed for 226 yards as Jackson had 387 yards of offense.
Summit finished with 468 yards, split equally between the ground and the air.
Hard-running senior Alex Clark piled up 190 yards on 31 carries.
Senior quarterback Myles Robinson completed 18 of 24 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns, three to senior C.J. Neal.
S -- Alex Clark 24 run (Justin Wittrock kick), 9:19
J -- Adam Brown 35 FG, 11:53
S -- Wittrock 35 FG, 8:19
J -- Ethan Ruch 4 run (Brown kick), 6:23
S -- C.J. Neal 4 pass from Myles Robinson (Wittrock kick), 2:36
J -- Lowgn Wren 54 pass from Bobby Clark (Brown kick), 1:05
S -- Wittrock 25 FG, :00
S -- Neal 23 pass from Robinson (Wittrock kick), 6:17
J -- Brandon Wright 33 pass from B. Clark (Brown kick), 4:09
S -- Neal 42 pass from Robinson (kick blocked), 8:10
S -- Joey Schenk 15 pass from Robinson (A. Clark run), 7:10
S -- Clark 24 run (Wittrock kick), 5:23
RUSHING -- Summit, A. Clark 31-190, Drew Lance 5-21, Robinson 3-14, Eric Beisel 1-3, Tony Exler 1-3, Jason Smith 3-3, Tyler Karst 2-0. Jackson, Ruch 19-149, Wright 1-12, B. Clark 4-0.
PASSING -- Summit, Robinson 18-24-0-217, Karst 1-2-0-17. Jackson, B. Clark 13-29-2-226.
RECEIVING -- Summit, Neal 8-116, Luke Hartmann 6-60, Schenk 4-41, Cole Greenwald 1-17. Jackson, Wren 4-74, Ruch 4-44, Mark Copen 2-34, Afton Eftink 1-35, Wright 1-33, Chris Poyner 1-6.