Stephenson showed its true merit by overcoming penalties and a sub-par offensive display for a 21-17 win over Drew at Hallford Stadium.
The Jaguars recorded four turnovers (three fumble recoveries, one interception), but were unable to separate themselves and enjoy a comfortable lead. However, they did just enough to keep the Titans at arm’s length.
“Those turnovers were huge. We just weren’t able to take advantage of them. Overall, it’s a win. We’re playing well; we just have to cut out the mistakes. We have a lot of new kids. We’re just going to keep working,” said Stephenson head coach Ron Gartrell.
Stephenson’s defense went to work early, knocking the ball loose from quarterback Gary Tyner hands and scooping it up at the 33-yard line. This miscue resulted in Ga’Von Wray calling his number with an 8-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing possession, Drew made up for its previous miscue when Tyner ran in for a score to draw even. The play was set up by a 60-yard catch-and-run by Tyrek Pressley which coincided with a roughing the passer penalty.
The Jags quickly rebounded and pulled ahead 14-7 after Ryan Ingram scored on a 7-yard dash.
In the second quarter, Stephenson running back Jevon Goff was tackled in the end zone leading to a safety which shrunk the deficit to 14-9. However, Drew failed to build off this momentum as another fumble by Tyner was recovered by the Jags.
Stephenson capitalized on this opportunity with Wray tallying his second touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run, pushing the game to 21-9. This scoring play would be the final points for the host Jags.
Throughout the second half, both schools displayed sloppy outputs on offense. A flurry of flags and misreads resulted in a multitude of punts or turnovers-on-downs.
Drew did score a touchdown with one minute on the clock. However, consecutive errors on special teams including a botched hold on the extra point and an off-line pooch kick helped the Jags escape with a puzzling win.
“Whenever you play good teams, you can’t have turnovers. You gotta take advantage of the opportunities you’re given, and they did that,” said Drew head coach Dorwyn Lyles. “We put ourselves in the position to be close in the end, but in this game, close isn’t good enough.”