George County picked a dramatic way to gain its first football victory of 2017.
Jay Scarbrough tackled Harrison Central running back Keon Moore at the Rebel 4 and the clock ran out Friday night as George County edged Harrison Central 19-14 at Earl Phillips Sr. Memorial Stadium on the HCHS campus.
George County is now 1-4 heading into its Region 3-6A opener next week against Oak Grove. HCHS fell to 1-3 and meets Pascagoula next week in its Region 4-6A opener.
George County wiped out a 14-13 deficit when Jonovan Jackson hit Ted Odom with a 60-yard TD pass with 3:48 left in the third quarter, and that turned out to be the game-winner.
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“It was a thriller, that was a great high school football game with both teams doing all they could do,’’ George County coach Matt Caldwell said. “Their kids played extremely hard. My kids played extremely hard, and it came down to six yards at the very end of the game.
“I told the kids we have some things to clean up but right now we are happy to win. We aren’t going to apologize for that.’’
Harrison Central had taken over the ball at the 50 with 3:01 left in regulation when Kendrick Shields recovered a Jackson fumble. The Red Rebels drove to the 6 and had first-and-goal with the clock running down. Moore, who rushed for a game-high 169 yards on 33 carries, ran a power play but Scarbrough and his teammates stopped him and the clock ran out.
HCHS jumped to a 7-0 lead, marching 63 yards on 12 plays to open the game. Chase Jones tossed a 12-yard TD pass to Moore and Sam Quick hit the first of two extra points.
George County tied the game 7-7 two plays later when Jonovan Jackson threw a 58-yard TD pass to Jamar Jackson.
Jamar Jackson capped George County’s first drive of the second half with a 13-yard TD run for a 13-7 lead. But HCHS immediately answered on an 8-play, 63-yard drive. Moore dashed in from 4 yards out with 5:30 left and Quick’s PAT put HCHS up 14-13.
Five plays later, Jonovan Jackson found a wide-open Odom for the 60-yard TD pass that was the game-winner. Jonovan Jackson rushed for 105 yards on 13 carries and completed 7 of 17 passes for 172 yards.
“I thought JJ going to quarterback and starting for the first time, he did a great job,’’ Caldwell said.
The George County defense rose to the occasion late in the fourth quarter.
“We pulled together, we work hard every day,’’ Scarbrough said. “I knew (Moore) was going to carry it. He was alone in the backfield. It feels great to get this win, we’ve worked hard for it.’’
Dylan Lawrence also had a fumble recovery for the Rebels in the third quarter, and the Rebels also made a key fumble recovery to stop a fourth quarter HCHS drive at the Rebel 40.
Javion Kahn’s fumble recovery at the Red Rebel 8 with 7:55 left in the game kept alive the hopes of Harrison Central, trailing by five points.
“It was a tough one,’’ HCHS coach Casey Cain said. “We had too many turnovers and gave up two explosive long plays. Explosive plays and turnovers are why we lost. I thought the kids played hard. We just have to do a better job of executing.’’