He’s adjusted to those trends when necessary very well, but Friday night’s homecoming game was a little more of what he called “old-fashioned football.”
And that’s just the way Jacoway likes it.
Behind three forced turnovers by the Wildcat defense, Sand Rock was able to capture a 25-7 victory and improve its record to 3-1 overall (2-1 in Class 2A, Region 7).
“We kind of gave a little ground here, gave a little ground there, especially in the first half, but we never really did break,” Jacoway said. “They were getting four or five yards, but we hung in there. The (two) turnovers in the second half were a big difference defensively.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Sand Rock finally broke through just before halftime on junior running back Dustin Chambers’ 1-yard touchdown run. Dylan Mackey’s extra point attempt bounced off the goal post, but the Wildcats were in front 6-0.
Chambers made his presence felt defensively just one play after the ensuing kickoff. He picked off Section quarterback Trent Linderman to bring the Wildcat offense back on the field at the Lion 44-yard line with 1:29 remaining in the half.
However, three incomplete passes by Mackey resulted in a punt, and the score remained 6-0 at the half.
Sand Rock took its opening possession of the third quarter and marched 66 yards in five plays, capped off by Mackey’s 32-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Stethan Chandler. The try for the 2-point conversion failed, but Sand Rock had increased its lead to 12-0 with 9:49 remaining in the third quarter.
On Section’s next possession, Linderman was picked off again, this time by junior defensive end Ethan Jimmerson. Jimmerson returned the ball to the Lion 32-yard line.
Linderman was limited to 8 of 14 pass completions for 64 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
“We tried to keep him contained as good as we could and get him to rush throws,” Jimmerson said on containing Linderman. “We just all work well together. We couldn’t do it without everyone out there.”
Six plays after Jimmerson’s interception, Austin Chambers scored on a 6-yard run. Mackey’s extra point was no good, but Sand Rock had increased its lead to 18-0.
Section managed to drive deep into Sand Rock territory on its next possession, but the turnover bug bit Linderman again. On a first-and-goal at the Sand Rock 8-yard line, Linderman fumbled the ball, which was scooped up by Wildcat freshman linebacker Alex McMahan at the 1:58 mark of the third quarter.
Four plays later, Mackey connected with junior receiver Zane Farrar on a 49-yard touchdown pass. Jimmerson’s extra point was good, giving Sand Rock a 25-0 advantage just 13 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Mackey finished the game completing 11 of 20 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He felt conditioning came into play, especially late in the game.
“We’ve been running tons just to get into shape for this type of game,” he said. “I think we were in better shape than them at the end. They got tired, and we just kept pounding them.”
Added Farrar: “We got a pretty good pep talk before the second half, and we just came out fired up and ready to go.”
Section finally got on the scoreboard with 6:48 to go in the game. The Lions marched 76 yards in nine plays, capped off by Linderman’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Luke Anderson. Alex Hernandez’s point after made it 25-7 Wildcats.
“We played a good first half, but the second half, we just didn’t execute like we were supposed to,” Section coach Joey Kirby said. “We’ve been turning the ball over a lot this year, and we’ve got to realize if we turn the ball over, we’re not going to be very successful. We’ve got to learn to hang on to the ball a little better.”
Sand Rock hosts Plainview in a non-region battle on Friday. Section returns home to face Pisgah.