WINNSBORO — A second half rally came up short Friday night for the Richard Winn Eagles against a big, hard hitting team from Andrew Jackson Academy. RWA spotted the Confederates a 22-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and managed to put some points up, losing 22-20.
The Confederates used their size advantage to open up big holes in the running game, particularly to the left side and pass plays to their tight end who is about 6-foot-5 capped off long scoring drives.
RWA Head Coach Dan Dickerson said that as the game went on his team battled and got back into it, in part thanks to their superior conditioning.
“I think at first that we were intimidated by their size,” Dickerson said. “But as the game went on we played better team defense and that allowed us to creep back into it.”
Andrew Jackson tried to exploit the Eagles through the air but the secondary rose to the occasion and they shut out the Confederates in the final three quarters.
Dickerson said the Confederate quarterback threw a few bad balls and that John Coleman made a really athletic play as Andrew Jackson was in the red zone, breaking up a pass by jumping over the top of the receiver’s head to get to the ball.
Thanks to a hard nosed rushing attack, by the fourth quarter RWA cut the lead to 22-14. They added a touchdown to pull within two points but the two-point conversion was no good.
RWA mounted one final drive. Facing a fourth and six, they got the Confederates to jump offsides. The fourth and one yard to go convinced Dickerson and his staff that their best chance to win was to go for it rather than attempt a long field goal.
Fullback Austin Knox ran the ball off tackle, but he was stopped short on the play by about the length of the football and the Eagles turned it over on downs.
“We felt really good about our second half effort,” Dickerson said. “We played better on first and second down and that made Andrew Jackson get into predictable passing situations and that helped our defense.”
Even though it is mid season, he said the team is still a majority of sophomore players and it took a while for the players to learn they could use technique and toughness and play with a bigger opponent. As the game wore on, his staff noticed the Confederate players tiring.
Quarterback Matt Taylor did damage on the ground running naked bootlegs and draws. He led the Eagles with 82 yards on 13 carries. Mitchell Gibbons led the team in receiving yards with one catch for 41 yards. Taylor finished 4-9 for 117 yards with no interceptions.
Coleman rushed for 67 yards on 20 carries and also completed a 41 yard pass. Austin Knox averaged 32 yards per punt. After combining for 42 points in the first three quarters, neither team scored in the final period.
Fans and players wore pink and cheerleaders used pink pompoms for the “Pink Out Game” to show support in the fight against breast cancer.