Photo: Sardis High’s Josh Scales sacks North Jackson quarterback Tanner Woodall during the Lions’ 19-13 victory over North Jackson last Friday (Sept. 22). (Photo by Huck Treadwell)
By Jay Beard/For Sand Mountain Reporter
The Sardis defense, along with a ground-and-pound offense, stood tall last Friday (Sept. 22) night as the Lions beat Class 4A, Region 7 foe North Jackson, 19-13.
“[It was a] very physical football game,” said head coach Gene Hill. “I was proud of our kids for sticking in there. I told them it was a team win. If you look in the second half, during a close game like this, the boys really stood tall. Just like the punt we had, we haven’t been doing well on special teams, but then he gets off a 52-yard-punt when we needed it, then our defense rises up and stops them down here on this end, and then our offense takes it, goes the field and runs the clock out.”
The game started out slow for both squads until a couple of penalties and a bad punt helped set up North Jackson’s first score of the night with 5:27 left in the first quarter.
On the next drive, Lion running back Drew Vaughn broke through for a 36-yard touchdown. The extra point was no good.
Both teams traded three-and-outs until Chase Bright picked off a pass and carried it 25 yards into the end zone, putting Sardis up 12-7 after a failed two-point conversion.
The Lion defense, along with penalties and mishaps by North Jackson, were the difference makers during the second half.
The Chiefs twice moved the ball deep into Sardis territory, but the Lion defense stood tall both times in forcing a turnover and holding on fourth down.
Both offenses were unable to reach the end zone again until late in the second half.
With 1:17 left in the game, Vaughn broke free for a 12-yard touchdown, putting the Lions up 19-7.
But 10 seconds later, the Chiefs found the end zone again when Woodall sent the ball flying 51 yards, right over the shoulder and into Brady Cooper’s hands, leaving the Lions up 19-13 with 1:07 left in the game.
But the score came a little too late.
The Chiefs were able to recover an onside kick that followed, but the Lion defense stood tall. After a failed fourth down conversion attempt on fourth and 33, the game was over.
“It was a great team win for us against a great North Jackson team,” said Hill. “We have five games out of the way. We have to go back to work next week and try to get a little better. We’ll see what’s going to happen the second half.”
The Lions are off next week and then travel to Westminster Christian on Oct. 6.