Friday, September 29, 2017
Maynard Jackson High School
North Springs High School
After edging Maynard Jackson High School last season, the North Springs Spartans knew they were in for a battle with the improved Jaguars this season. The game produced a barn-burner but in an unorthodox manner. The teams swapped punts on their opening possessions. Jalen Delaney made terrific pass breakups both on the initial drive and on the second series in the end zone. On 4th down, a Jaguar receiver out-jumped two Spartan defenders in the end zone for a 6-0 lead. The Jags soon returned an intercepted pass for a 13-0 lead. Another interception ended a 2nd quarter Spartan drive. Later trailing 19-0, QB Brian Adams welcomed Nick Keou back onto the field after an ankle injury last week with a 68-yard pass play to the 4-yard line. Adams kept the ball to cut the lead to 19-7. Jackson responded with a TD just before halftime for a 26-7 lead. The Jaguars opened the 3rd quarter with another TD drive and 32-7 lead. Just as the Spartans were driving, an interception was returned to the Spartan 29. Facing a looming 40-7 deficit, the Spartan defense turned the game around by holding the Jags on 4th down at the Spartan 7 yard line with 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Caleb Neely used excellent blocking to get the Spartans moving, assisted by two personal fouls on Jackson. QB Adams hit Zahir Nichols for a touchdown and 32-14 score. On 4th down at the goal line, Jalen Delaney and JuJuan Woodall broke up a TD pass. The Spartans squandered a 4th quarter scoring opportunity following a Caleb Neely carry to the 1 yard line by losing a fumbled exchange at the 1. Jahvon Millard swooped in to block the next Jaguar punt, which was recovered by Graylyn Stokes. QB Brian Adams followed his O-line for a short TD to pull within 32-20. Holder QB Adams pulled the ball on the PAT fake, ran right, and lofted the ball left to kicker Osman Rusuyav in the endzone. Rusuyav was pummeled by the defenders but held on for a 2-point conversion and 32-22 deficit with 2:50 left in the game.
Big tackles by Kyree Greene and Jalen Willingham forced a Jaguar punt. Caleb Neely blew threw a big hole to race to the Jag 25. When a flag erased a Jalen Delaney running TD on 4th down, Brian Adams threw a 16-yard pass to Delaney for a TD and 32-29 score with 58 seconds left. The Spartan onsides kick was deflected out of bounds, enabling Jackson to hold on for the win. What the box score won’t show was the number of key Spartan players fighting courageously through injured ankles and other injuries to contribute to the impressive comeback. The Spartans will host Cross Keys for early Senior Night and Pink Out Friday at 7:30 pm.