Tigers dam Merkel
After a Jacksboro fumble turned into a Merkel score less than one minute into Friday night’s district opener, you couldn’t blame fans for asking themselves if this would be a repeat of the season opener.
The Tigers obviously learned from their mistakes and received a solid defensive performance in the second half. The offense picked up a pair of third quarter scores to take control while the defense held its own in the fourth quarter of a 20-14 win at Tiger Stadium.
Isaiah Burns returned the aforementioned turnover 25 yards for a score. The conversion was good.
Jacksboro turned the ball over on its second drive, negating nifty passes to Peyton Kinman and Kaleem Howard. The Tiger defense began to rear its head, getting the first of two Kade Dennis sacks followed by a Howard interception to end the drive.
Completions from Lando Belcher to Dennis, Kinman and Howard moved the ball to the Badger 14. Gage Owen led the way on the ground, ending a drive with the first of two scores, this one from four yards out. The Tigers were within 8-6 with 1:45 left in the half.
Jacksboro forced a turnover on the ensuing drive and looked to take a lead into the halftime locker room. Paul Shackelford’s 14-yard run moved the ball near the 50 while a 44-yard strike to Howard got the ball to the Merkel 10 as time expired.
Merkel drove into Tiger territory to open the third quarter, but a Belcher interception gave Jacksboro great field position at its own 45. Owen moved the ball inside the 25 with some hard running and then finished the 55-yard drive with a 15-yard scoring run for a 12-8 lead with 5:58 left in the third.
Merkel needed 57 seconds to retake the lead. Using a 65-yard kick return from Ethan Abbott to move into the Tiger red zone, Burns scored two plays later from 16 yards out. The conversion failed, but the visitors still led 14-12.
For the full story, see the Wednesday, Oct. 13 edition of the Jacksboro Herald-Gazette.