It was a great atmosphere Friday night in Middletown as a pair of 1-1 teams played in front of a large crowd under cloudy skies with double digit winds. Tropical storm Ophelia’s outer bands were closing in on the state, having an affect on the kicking game for both the Hawks and the Jags.
The game was close from start to finish and the outcome wasn’t decided until Appo’s Dillon Griffith intercepted a Timothy Wichard pass with barely :30 seconds to go to preserve the Jaguars victory.
Appo head coach Brian Timpson told us Thursday that Griffith would be a “game time decision”. The senior not only started, but played on both sides of the ball and scored the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Appo scored first on a seven-play, 75 yard drive ignited by senior Ja’den Glover’s 36 yard run on the opening play from scrimmage. Glover completed the drive with a five yard touchdown run and Christian Towns kicked the extra point for an early 7-0 lead. St George’s would tie the game early in the second quarter as Camron Montgomery scored from three yards out while Andrew Thomas booted the point after attempt. In that scoring drive, Montgomery had consecutive carries for 34 and 23 yards.
The home team Jags had an answer on the ensuing possession. Following a penalty, the Jags faced first down and 15 yards to go from their own 49 yard line. Sophomore quarterback Gregory Nielsen used a “pump fake” and threw the ball downfield intended for Yalik Carter. Alertly, the Hawks’ Emory Womak stepped in and tipped the ball at the 27 yard line, but it went right into Carter’s arms in stride and he raced the distance for the go ahead touchdown. The extra point try was blocked, leaving the Jags up by a score of 13-7 at halftime.
Both offenses stalled on the opening drives in the third quarter. St George’s would then control the rest of the quarter, going on a 72 yard possession featuring 8 rushing attempts by Montgomery covering 35 yards. The Hawks scored on a 12 yard pass from Francis McCarthy to Womack as time expired in the quarter. Thomas kicked the extra point to give the Hawks a 14-13 advantage. For the first time St George’s was ahead on the scoreboard with 12:00 left in the game.
Once again, Appo had a response to the Hawks score. Following two penalties, the Jags were faced with a third and 20 from the Hawks 35 yard line. Coach Timpson used his final timeout to set up the crucial play, and it worked to perfection. Quarterback Nielsen again gave the defense a “pump-fake” and connected with Griffith in stride behind the secondary for the touchdown. Appo’s conversion attempt failed, but the 19-14 lead with 9:13 left would hold up for the final score.
St George’s made a gallant attempt late but the final drive ended in Griffith’s interception. On that final possession, the Hawks’ feature running back (Montgomery) suffered an injury and left the game under his own power. He finished the night with 32 rushing attempts for a game-high 188 yards.
Appo was paced by Glover with 126 yards on 24 carries, while Nielsen completed 10 of 19 passes for 180 yards.
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