High School Football:
Saturday, November 20, 1999
By Greg Alvord
On an unseasonably mild but perfect afternoon for playoff football, the Eastern Vikings and Jackson Jaguars squared off in a classic Group IV semifinal battle. Eastern would end up winning this rock'em, sock'em game by a 13-7 score, but not before buckling down to fend off a furious Jaguars comeback.
The first quarter was dominated by both clubs' defenses. The hard hitting, popping of the pads could be heard echoing through the packed stands. The quarter ended with the score tied at zero.
Eastern would score the game's first points in the second quarter. A beautiful 12 play, 75-yard drive was put together by the Vikings. Highlights of the drive were a dazzling, Walter Payton-like 25-yard draw play by Adam Taliaferro and a Larry Csonka-like 12-yard trap play by Ed Carter. Taliaferro would score from three yards out behind the bruising blocking of lineman Gregg Wrenn and Justin Glenn. Jackson would come back with a drive of their own on the next series, only to be denied by a junk-yard ferioucous Eastern "D". The Vikings caused a fumble to stall the Jaguar drive. The half ended with Viking David Keuger's 40-yard field goal attempt that missed wide right.
Eastern came out in the second half fired up. On the first play of the second half, Omar Miles took the option pitch from quarterback Darryl Scott and raced 65-yards in Duce Staley-like explosive fashion to the Jaguars 15-yard line. A game saving hustling tackle by Josh Davison would prove to be huge. The Jaguars' "D" would buckle down and hold the Vikings offense on the next four plays. Being inspired by their defensive stand, the Jackson offense would put together their own type of methodical drive that would consume the entire quarter. The hard running of Joe Migliore and field generalship of quarterback Gary Edwards paced the Jags' drive. The Eastern defense would come up big once again as the Vikings held Jackson on a fourth and one from the 15-yard line. A plethora of Eastern defenders would gang tackle Migliore on a play that had to have the defensive coaches smiling.
The fourth quarter started with another monstrous drive put together by the Vikings. Eastern's blocks of granite linemen controlled the trenches in a way that would have made the late great general Patton happy. Scott plunged in from one-yard out to make the score 13-0. With 4:24 left in the ball game, many of the fans thought that Jackson was cooked, but Josh Davison had other ideas. Davison took the ensuing kickoff and burst 85-yards before being brought down by the hustling Scott. However, two plays later, Edwards would punch it in to make the score 13-7. Like getting a skittles sugar rush, the Jackson club now seemed to be full of life. A clamping three and out hold of the Eastern offense gave Jackson the ball back with 2:02 remaining in the game. From their thirty-five yard line, Jackson used a variety of short passes to push the ball to the Eastern 38-yard line. On a second and ten, a mongrel of a play by the blitzing Bill Mongan, sacked Jackson for a huge loss. The Jaguars would come right back, as Edwards would connect with Davison who ran a beautiful dig pattern to gain 40-yards. A tremendous touchdown saving tackle by Chaz Brown had Eastern clinging to the lead. As the seconds slowly ticked away, Jackson ran three unsuccessful plays. The game boiled down to a fourth and goal from the 14-yard line. As Edwards rolled right, he looked to find Davison, but Darryl Scott had other ideas. Sticking to Davison like white on rice, Scott stepped in and picked off the pass with a season saving interception. The Eastern "D" came up huge once again to send the Vikings to the Group IV championship against another group of Vikings from Atlantic City.
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