Eagles overpower Hillcrest Jaguars

Published 1:33 pm Monday, October 15, 2007

By BY Daniel Hodge
sports writer

EVERGREEN — The biggest game is always the next game on your schedule. That was exactly the philosophy the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles exemplified as they handed the Hillcrest Jaguars a 20-6 defeat Friday night.
The Blue Eagles (4-3 overall and 3-2 in Region 1) outmatched the Jaguars (2-5 overall and 2-3 in Region 1) in a physical playoff implicating game.
After forcing the potent Jaguar offense to punt on the opening possession, the Blue Eagles earned possession on its own 39-yard line. Following two successive Ray Nelson carries for little yardage, the Blue Eagle offense was faced with a third down and long. On third down, Donald Peacock scrambled his way for 15 yards giving the Blue Eagles a first down inside Jaguar territory. Several plays later, the Blue Eagles were faced with another key conversion attempt.
On fourth down and three, Nelson grabbed the handoff and covered the needed yardage that rewarded the Blue Eagles with a first down at the Jaguar 18-yard line.
One more fourth down conversion was needed to put the Blue Eagles on the scoreboard. Following the latter conversion, Akeem Green seized the handoff and plunged his way into the end zone capping the 14-play drive. Thomas Emmons’ extra point kick was no good, leaving the score at 6-0 with 1:30 left in the opening quarter.
Following the impressive Blue Eagle drive, the Jaguars looked poised to push for the end zone as well. The Jaguars used the legs of Justin Nared to move the ball out to midfield, but the drive came to an abrupt halt as a result of penalties and bad passes.
On its ensuing drive, the Blue Eagles suffered from the same mistakes that the Jaguars made on the preceding drive. Three consecutive penalties involving an ineligible lineman forced the Blue Eagles to punt from deep within its own territory.
The Hillcrest offensive attack picked up superb field position following a short Peacock punt. With the ball at the Blue Eagle 35-yard line, Terrence Thomas took the handoff and picked up 12 yards giving the Jaguars high hopes of getting on the scoreboard late in the first half. All hopes were cast away when two penalties (one being an unsportsmanlike penalty) and a sack of Nared moved the ball back to midfield. With little to no chance of converting a fourth down and nearly 30, the Jaguars opted to punt.
With possession at its own 20-yard line, the Blue Eagle offense wasted no time moving the ball inside Hillcrest territory via running games of Wayne Mitchell, Nate Sheffield and Peacock. However, on first down from the Jaguar 41-yard line, the snap sailed over Peacock’s head and was recovered by Hillcrest at the Blue Eagle 35-yard line.
The Hillcrest offense, which suffered from poorly snapped balls, turned possession over to the Blue Eagles on the ensuing play. Nared never got a handle on the ball and fumbled at the Blue Eagle 38-yard line where Derrick Fantroy recovered with just over a minute left in the first half.
An attempt at a late first-half score was ended following two consecutive sacks by the Jaguar defense.
The Blue Eagles wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the second half. After a Green carry moved the ball to the Blue Eagle 17-yard line, Peacock found Jeremy Nicholson wide open down the sideline for an 83-yard touchdown. Peacock’s two-point conversion pass skipped off of the ground incomplete giving the Blue Eagles a two possession lead at 12-0 with 10:56 left in the third quarter.
Neither team managed much on the offensive side of the ball until the Jaguars’ final possession. From its own 17-yard line, the Jaguars found a little offensive light as it used five Nared completions and one rush to break up the shutout. The drive was capped off by a five-yard touchdown pass from Nared to Neil Pressley. The extra point kick was easily blocked by Singleton, leaving the score at 20-6 with 2:15 remaining in the contest.
Now the Jaguars needed to successfully kick and recover the onside kick. Both objectives failed as Sheffield pounced on the bouncing kick at the Blue Eagle 45-yard line.
From here, the Blue Eagle offense kept the ball on the ground, preserving the victory.
The Blue Eagles return home next Friday to take on the Jackson Aggies in a vital Region 1 game. The Aggies (2-5 overall and 2-3 in Region 1) were defeated 27-26 by T.R. Miller on a last minute touchdown. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.