AMERICUS — With starting quarterback Carson Biles lost to an injury for the rest of the season, and leading rusher and scorer Alex Patrick hobbled and out, the Red Devil defense stepped up its game as Jackson got its first road win of the season Friday night, defeating the Panthers of Americus-Sumter, 21-14.
The defense kept the Panthers off the board for most of the game, with three interceptions, one of them a “pick 6” for a score, highlighting the defensive effort. Gavin Glass picked up his third interception in as many games, and Dawson Livingston got his second interception in the last two games, to halt Americus drives. But the biggest interception of the night may have belonged to Dennis Foster, who returned it 59 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
Foster also added to his touchdown totals with a 43-yard punt return for a score.
Jackson fans who attended the game got a chance to see the future stars of the Red Devils, as Coach Dary Myricks called on younger players to step up. They included freshman Luke Mathews, who took the place of Biles at QB, sophomore Dawson Livington, who rushed for 73 yards on 12 carries, and sophomore Victavian Henderson, who rushed 19 times for 35 yards, including a 6-yard carry for a score.
Myricks credited the win to his defense.
“We came out Friday and played a solid defensive game,” he said. “We held them scoreless for three quarters.”
Jackson took the lead on its first drive following an interception, with Henderson going over from 6 yards out for the score. Peyton Zimmerman added the extra point and the Red Devils led, 7-0.
After the defense stymied the Panthers yet again deep in their own territory, Foster gathered in a punt at the Americus 43-yard-line and returned it for the score. With Zimmerman’s kick, Jackson was up 14-0.
The Panthers finally got on the board midway through the 4th quarter, thanks in large part to a very questionable ball placement by the officials. Jackson had stopped Americus and they were facing a 4th and 9 situation. The Panthers tried a fake field goal and almost made it to first down territory, but were stopped by the Red Devils almost two yards short. However, the officials credited Americus with two more yards than they earned, giving them the first down and keeping the drive alive. The Panthers scored moments later on a long pass and cut the lead back to 7, 14-7.
Americus had a chance to tie the game up late, but Foster snuffed that out with his interception at the Jackson 41, returning it 59 yards for a touchdown. With Zimmerman’s kick, the Red Devils led 21-7.
As time ran out, the Panthers got one more score on a long pass, but ended the game down by seven. 21-14.
The Red Devils, 3-2 overall and 2-1 in 2-AAA, host another tough opponent Friday night. Crisp County comes into the game 5-1 overall and also 2-1 in the region. The Cougars from Cordele shut out Upson-Lee, 32-0, and beat Mary Persons, 38-7, in region contests. Last week they collected their only loss of the season in a close region game with Peach County, 14-13.
Gametime is 7:30 p.m. Anyone who cannot come out to the game can watch it streamed live for $10. Go to https://score-sports.com/fan-central/ or search google for Score 58 network. Click on the High School Football Logo. Scroll down until you see the Jackson High School football helmet. Click on the Jackson High school helmet, pay, and enjoy the game.