Special teams play sparks Yellow Jackets’ region win

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By Deunte Marshall/Messenger Sports Correspondent 

Daniel Otwell’s 39-yard touchdown run from with a little under two minutes to go sealed the deal for the Glencoe (1-1, 1-0) last Friday in a 15-3 victory over Class 3A, Region 5 foe Weaver (1-1, 0-1) at Wilson-Darnell Stadium. 

With the hosts trailing 3-2 at the start of the fourth quarter, Glencoe quarterback Hunter Nunnally connected with Austin Hancock on a 19-yard touchdown pass. The following two-point conversion failed, however, leaving the Jackets with an 8-3 lead with about five minutes left in the game. 

A small miscue minutes later turned into the biggest play of the game. 

As he was getting set to punt on fourth down, Otwell picked up a bobbled snap on fourth down and picked up nine yards to keep the Jacket drive alive. Otwell’s 39-yard touchdown run with 1:54 left put the game away.

“I saw that the left side was open when I got the ball from the bad snap,” said Otwell. “I felt like I could get to the first down marker, so I got there and took one for the team.”

“Daniel played very well on special teams, which helped the defense win the field position battle,” said Glencoe head coach Lee Ozmint. “

As the second half began, the Glencoe special teams stepped up. Otwell placed two punts inside the Bearcat 5-yard line, backing the Bearcats into their own end zone for two straight possessions.  

Senior defensive end Blake Christian made it even tougher on the visitors, as he caused an intentional grounding penalty when he forced the Weaver quarterback to throw the ball away while he was in the end zone. The resulting safety cut Weaver’s lead 3-2 entering the fourth quarter.

“It was hard after last week’s loss to a good team, but we just came back and focused 10 times harder this week,” said Glencoe defensive end Dalton Gowens. “Weaver is an excellent team, and we both played our hearts out. We just made more of them when we needed the and came out with the win.”

The first quarter was dominated by defense, as neither team could sustain a drive. The Jackets started to find a rhythm late in the quarter, but the drive was halted with an interception by Brandell Massey at 7:14.

The Bearcats opened the scoring by way of an an 11-play, 50-yard drive that ended with a 35-yard field goal by Santiago Ballme with 4:29 left before the half.

The win helped to wipe away the sour taste of the Yellow Jackets’ Week 1 loss to Westbrook.  

“I felt last week we were out of shape,” said Ozmint. “But we worked on that, and our leadership stepped up tonight. We also did the little things right, which turned into big things that helped win the game.” 

Glencoe will try for its second region week next week when the Yellow Jackets visit second-ranked Piedmont.  

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