Tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, Pleasant Valley was driving on the Eagles in the second quarter.
After Raider quarterback Lucas Ford called for a fair catch on the Raiders 10, Pleasant Valley went to work. A pass from Ford to Dustin Andrews put the Raiders at their 34. On two consecutive runs, Nicolas Deerman moved his team to the Eagle 44.
Dalton Bean picked up a first down for the Raiders on the 30 then it was Bean to the 18. Bean ran hard for the Raiders all game, picking up their first touchdown with an eight-yard scamper into the end zone. The Eagles were unable to stop the ground game and it looked like the Raiders would score again until they had a turnover and Jacksonville’s J.J. Johnson fell on a fumble on the next play.
The Eagles went right to work to turn the turnover into a scoring opportunity. Eagle quarterback Jackson Bell, who scored the Eagles first touchdown of the game on an eight-yard scamper, ran the ball out to the Raider 42.
Running back Dominique Thomas carried the ball to the Raider 36 then it was Bell down the right side for a 36-yard touchdown. The extra point by Mason Tompkins was good and Jacksonville was up 14-7.
It took Jacksonville under a minute to score another touchdown.
J.J. Johnson was once again in the right place for the Eagles and intercepted a pass and returning it 16 yards for the score and Jacksonville was up 20-7 at the half.
The two big plays seemed to take the wind out of the Raiders’ sail.
The Eagles, on the other hand, came out of the locker room rejuvenated and the defense that played lackluster during the first half stepped up.
Eagle Head Coach Clint Smith was quick to praise his teams efforts.
“Football is a game of momentum,” he said. “You have to stop the other team when you don’t have it. My hat is off to our defense. They settled in in the second half.
“Pleasant Valley played our tails off. We knew we were in a war.”
The Eagles scored on their first possession of the second half. After falling on an attempted onside kick at the Eagle 45, Thomas, who finished the game with 129 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown, ran the ball to the 27. A pass from Bell to Sid Thurmond put the Eagles on the 3-yard line. Thomas dove to the one and then Bell picked up his third touchdown of the game for a 27-7 lead.
Bell showed his quickness and agility throughout the game carrying the ball seven times for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
The Eagles quickly scored again after a Raider fumble on the kickoff. Taking over on the 22, Thomas went up the middle, then turned on the speed down the right side of the field for another six and a 33-7 lead.
Moments later Thurmond returned a punt 65 yards and with another Tompkins kick Jacksonville was up 41-7.
Pleasant Valley wasn’t through scoring. Drew Lewiski took the ensuing kickoff and raced 95yards to score.
Smith put in his non-starters and they showed their coach what they could do. In five carries, ninth grader Tae Ackles took the ball from his 30 to the Raider 35. Another ninth grader, Nick Gangwer, turned heads when he raced 35 yards for an Eagle touchdown. The extra point put the Eagles up 48-13.
Both teams still had one more touchdown left in them. Lewiski once again electrified the crowd with a great kickoff return to the Eagle 29. On the next play Ford ran untouched into the end zone for the Raiders’ final score of the night.
Jacksonville countered when Thurmond returned the kickoff to the 45.
Lavontae LaCount, in for Bell, handed off to Ackles who went 41 yards for the final touchdown. Ackles carried the ball 17 times for 132 yards.
Pleasant Valley plays at Ranburne on Friday while Jacksonville will travel for a region game against Hokes Bluff.