When kicker Jason Garcia’s PAT attempt sailed through the uprights with 8:12 remaining before halftime, ole Mr. Momentum appeared to be on the side of the Northeast Jones Tigers as they hosted Northeast Lauderdale Friday night.
Garcia’s PAT put the finishing touches on a 43-yard drive that saw quarterback Javier Magee connect with receiver Mason Smith on a 26-yard scoring strike. The third down scoring toss closed the NEJ deficit to 7-6 before Garcia knotted things up with his kick.
The visiting Trojans had taken an early 7-0 advantage on a 4-yard TD scamper by tailback Michael McClinton at the 5:02 mark of the first quarter. McClinton would also add the final score of the night when he covered the last five yards of a short 19-yard drive that was set up when NEL recovered a Northeast Jones fumble. That fumble and subsequent scoring drive seemed to sap a lot of energy from the NEJ sideline.
Northeast Jones fell to Northeast Lauderdale 27-7 Friday night in The Jungle. It was both teams’ Region 5-4A opener. The Tigers fall to 0-6 overall, and 0-1 in 5-4A, while the Trojans improve to 4-2 on the season and 1-0 in region play.
Sandwiched in between McClinton’s two scoring jaunts were two passing scores from NEL quarterback Kam Hulin – one to Jas Grayson with a little over seven minutes remaining before halftime, and the other to Jaquarius Barron with just 12 ticks showing on the first half clock. The Trojans missed the PAT after the Grayson TD, and the 2-point attempt after the 6-point toss to Barron also failed.
However, the Trojans carried a comfortable 19-7 lead to the locker-room.
After McClinton’s final TD run and a 2-point conversion extended the visitors’ lead to 27-7, the Tigers had one more good chance to get back into the contest when Tony Barnes plucked a line drive kick-off out of the air at his own 24 and raced to the NEL 32. Northeast Jones then drove as deep as the six before a sack, and an interception killed the drive.
NEJ head coach Keith Braddock and his Tigers will travel to West Lauderdale next weekend for their second Region 5-4A matchup of the season.