Jacksonville’s senior running back couldn’t handle a high pitch on his team’s first offensive play from scrimmage, putting the ball on the turf and setting Pleasant Valley up with excellent field position.
All Little did the rest of the night was rush for 151 yards and three touchdowns, as the Golden Eagles picked up their second win of the season, downing the Raiders 39-6 on senior night.
“I’m proud of our seniors,” Jacksonville coach Roland Houston said. “They came out week after week, even though we were losing, they came to practice ready to try to win the next week. They never gave up, never laid down, and I think they’re good people because of that.”
Pleasant Valley didn’t convert Little’s fumble recovery into points, but the Raiders did get on the board first. On their third possession, William Hamby took a handoff up the middle from quarterback Lucas Ford, cut to his left and raced 53 yards for a touchdown, putting Pleasant Valley up 6-0 after a missed PAT.
Jacksonville’s offense sputtered early but got things going late in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns in a little more than three minutes.
The three-headed monster of Little, Dominique Thomas and Josh Staples did the majority of the damage.
Staples tied the game at 6 with 4:28 to go in the first half on a 12-yard touchdown run.
Dalton Bean fumbled the ball right back to Jacksonville on the Raiders’ next play from scrimmage, setting up Little’s 13-yard touchdown run with 2:14 to go before the break.
Jacksonville’s final score of the half was set up by a Maxwell Thurmond interception. Little did the rest, scoring from 22 yards out to put his team up 18-6.
“I think it was a team effort tonight. I don’t think it was just one person,” Houston said. “To begin with, Pleasant Valley really stuffed us up front. They came out and played really good, especially early in the game. They had a good plan.
“But our guys kept battling and finished up. Midway in the third quarter, we really started turning things around and right before halftime. So I’m proud of them for that.”
Pleasant Valley (3-7) moved the ball well throughout the game, but turnovers plagued them on a misty night. The Raiders lost three fumbles and threw three interceptions, something coach Jeff Davis said was a common theme this season.
“They kill you,” Davis said of the turnovers. “It’s been a nemesis all year. Get a drive going and turn the ball over. You can’t win football games turning the ball over, shooting yourself in the foot.”
Little scored his final touchdown of his Jacksonville career on the first play of the fourth quarter, taking a handoff up the middle and outrunning the defense for a 60-yard touchdown.
“Cordero is a big-play guy,” Houston said.
“He’s a guy that if you get the ball in his hands he can make something happen. He had a good game tonight… He’s been a pleasure to coach.”
Thomas did the majority of the work on Jacksonville’s next touchdown drive with runs of 41 and 28 yards, setting up Tyler Ross’ 1-yard quarterback sneak that put the Golden Eagles (2-8) up 32-7.
Thomas finished the game with 96 yards on 12 carries. Staples added 76 yards on six carries.
Jacksonville set the final late in the fourth when Malik Reed carried the ball in from 17 yards out.