Jackson-Atlanta 14, BEST Academy 12

The Jaguars overcome an early miscue to ground the Eagles in an afternoon matchup of Region 4-AAA teams at Lakewood Stadium.

While the Eagles’ first three possessions were three-and-out, they took the early lead behind their defense, stripping a Jackson ball carrier to cause a fumble that Deonta Hill scooped up and took 20 yards for a touchdown.

The Jaguars moved the ball on a few first-half drives, relying mostly on the legs of quarterback Shadricus Ferguson, who rushed for 105 yards in the game. He raced in from the left side for a 3-yard score with less than a minute to go before intermission to tie the game at 6.

Up to that point the Eagles did not have a single first down, but they mounted a furious drive that reached the Jackson 22, where a pass into the end zone fell incomplete as the halftime horn sounded.

The Jaguars had an opportunity late in the third quarter after recovering a fumble on the Eagles’ 20, but two plays later Deshawn Waller picked off a pass near the goal line and returned it to the BEST 38.

However, another Eagle fumble late in the third gave Jackson the ball at the visitors’ 28. From there, it took nine plays for the Jaguars to take the lead, as Jamari O’Neal scored on a 3-yard run off left tackle with 9:53 to go in the fourth quarter. O’Neal then took another handoff and picked up the two-point conversion.

BEST drove to the Jackson 10 on the ensuing drive, but two penalties and a sack resulted in a fourth-and-28 on the 32, and an incomplete pass gave the Jaguars the ball. Ferguson ran 13 yards for a first down near midfield and it looked as though Jackson would run out the clock.

On the next play, a series of laterals resulted in a fumble that the Eagles’ Joveris Jackson took to the Jaguars’ 7. Three plays later, Waller scored on a 9-yard run with 1:04 on the clock. But the two-point try failed.

The Eagles will host Chapel Hill next week at Grady Stadium, while the Jaguars return to Lakewood as the road team against Douglass.

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