Defense delivers: Avella stays unbeaten with OT win
JEFFERSON – Zach Thompson scored on a nine-yard run on the second play of overtime, and Santino Paris intercepted a potential game-winning two-point conversion pass, as Avella pulled out a 27-26 come-from-behind victory over Jefferson-Morgan in a key Class A Tri-County South Conference game Friday night at Parker Field.
The win keeps Avella (3-0, 4-0) undefeated. The Eagles stopped Jefferson-Morgan (2-2, 2-2) from inside the Avella three-yard line on the final two plays of regulation, then needed the interception from Paris after J-M scored on its first play in overtime.
Avella fullback Jake Temple, playing his first game of the season at running back, had three touchdown runs, including two in the first five minutes. Temple scored on runs of two and 45 yards as Avella forged a quick 14-0 lead, and his 13-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter tied the score at 20-20. Temple rushed for 114 yards on 11 carries.
Avella had a chance to regain the lead after Temple’s third TD, but a high snap from center prevented an extra-point kick from being attempted.
After Thompson swept around end – his third carry of the game – on the second play of overtime, Avella’s Shawn Carl booted the extra-point that gave the Eagles a 27-20 lead.
J-M answered with quarterback Rece Henneman passing 10 yards to Gerald Metz on its first play in OT to make it 27-26. The Rockets, who played without their injured placekicker, opted to go for the two-point conversion, but Paris picked off the pass in the endz zone to seal the victory for Avella.
The Eagles’ defense also delivered late in the fourth quarter. Sparked by a 48-yard pass from Henneman to Logan Bowman, J-M reached the Eagles’ 2-yard line with less than one minute to play. Henneman, however, was stopped at the 2 on third down, and following three consecutive timeouts Bowman was stopped on fourth down as time expired.
J-M pulled to within 14-6 at halftime on an eight-yard run by Bowman in the second quarter. The Rockets then took a 20-14 lead in the third quarter as Henneman threw a 22-yard screen pass to Austin Clark for one score and ran eight yards for a go-ahead touchdown.