By Shaun Scott
The Emerald Ridge Jaguars defense made two defensive stands to preserve a
21-14 victory in their home opener against the Beamer Titans.
After regaining possession of the ball with 1:19 left in the third quarter, Beamer mounted a 17-play drive that came up an inch short of a game-tying touchdown.
After a 11-yard run by Shawn Priggett got the ball to Emerald Ridge’s 7-yard line, Beamer was in good shape with a first and goal opportunity. After three unsuccessful rushing attempts toward the end zone Beamer called on running back Marley Liulama, who has the size of an offensive lineman, on a fourth and one running play up the gut.
The Jaguars defense swarmed Liulama just inches before the goaline, forcing Beamer to turn ball over the on downs with 6:35 remaining in regulation.
“Down on the goal-line we knew they were just going to try to pound it. So they put their big back (Liulama) in. We had eight guys in the box and the guys just made a play,” Jaguars defensive coordinator Brian Anderson said. “That was a great series for our kids out there.”
Beamer regained possession of the ball after a defensive stand at their own 35-yard line with 1:29 left in regulation. Beamer turned the ball over on downs after just four offensive plays, giving the ball back to the Jaguars with 35 seconds left, preserving a Jaguars victory.
Emerald Ridge senior quarterback Jake Sommer, who is in his third year as the team’s starting signal caller, connected with wide receiver Paul Allen on a 25-yard touchdown pass with 1:29 left in the third quarter, giving the Jaguars a 21-14 lead they would never relinquish for the rest of the game.
“Jake put it where it needed to be,” Jaguars offensive coordinator Darren Erath said. “He put outside so the only guy that is going to catch it is going to be our wide receiver. When you got a basketball player that can jump pretty well it helps. He (Allen) went up and made a play on it just being an athlete. That was a sweet play.”