The Magee Trojans put on a dominant defensive display in their 14-7 victory over the Jefferson Davis County Jaguars last Friday night.
Trojan players had this game circled, and many of the senior players said they were out for revenge after suffering a close loss to the Jaguars last season. It was a highly anticipated rematch by fans as well, and the game was sold out.
The Jaguars possessed the football to start the game, and the Trojans set the tone early. Trojan cornerback DQ Levy ended the Jaguars’ first offensive possession with an interception.
QB Chandler Pittman led the offense onto the field and completed a 17 yard pass to Cayden Bridges for a first down. Penalties and early inefficiency led to a Trojan punt. Defensively the Trojans dominated the line of scrimmage, thanks to Jordan Magee and Jamaal Dinkins. Linebackers Jody Durr, Cameron Floyd, and Jameyian Spencer did an excellent job diagnosing plays and closing running lanes. This stifled the Jaguars’ run heavy attack. Dinkins made an impressive tackle at the line of scrimmage after beating his blocker. Durr followed suit on the next play. The Trojans only allowed three yards and forced the Jaguars to punt.
Both defenses were prepared, and the Trojans also struggled to gain any offensive momentum. Pittman established a connection with Cayden Bridges early. Xavier Franks was drawing double coverage and safety help early in the game. The Trojans’ second offensive drive ended in a punt.
A nearby thunderstorm was in the forecast and a slight rain would later affect the game. After lightning was reported within5 miles, the game was postponed for 30 minutes. After play resumed the Jaguars picked up a first down to end the first quarter. The Jaguars were having slight success attacking the middle of the Trojan defense and advanced the ball to the Trojan10 yard line. Inside the red zone, Jordan Magee quickly put a stop to it with a big tackle in the backfield that revved up his teammates. Jody Durr made another tackle in the backfield putting the Jaguars on the 16 yard line. In an obvious passing situation the Trojan defenders pressured the quarterback effectively, forcing two errant passes and a turnover on downs.
Midway through the second quarter, Pittman committed to getting Franks the football, and he delivered. Franks began working the middle of the field with quick crossing routes and picked up consecutive first downs. The Jaguar defenders were helpless and the Pittman/Franks tandem moved the Trojans into scoring position. Facing third down, Franks took the ball on a reverse and gained 27 yards before being tackled on the 3 yard line. Pittman finished the drive with a rushing touchdown. Bridges was stopped short on the 2-point conversion attempt, and the Trojans took a 6-0 lead.
The Trojan defense had played aggressively the entire night. A good play called by JDC took advantage of the aggression. The Jaguars were able to capitalize on a short screen pass that broke for big yardage. With the ball on the Trojan 10 yard line and 9 seconds left in the first half, the Jaguar quarterback scrambled for a touchdown. The Jaguars carried a 7-6 lead into halftime.
The first half of the game was full of emotion, and Trojan players were chirping back at the taunts of their opponents. As the team prepared to start the second half, they seemed to take a more calm and focused approach. It paid dividends as the Trojan offense started the second half on fire. Chandler Pittman opened the second half with a big run, making several defenders miss tackles in the open field. Three consecutive big gains saw the Trojans near the goal line looking to score. Pittman completed a touchdown pass to Jaylen Floyd on a bootleg. Floyd was alone in the end zone to secure the catch and what would be the final touchdown of the game. Bridges found the endzone for the two point conversion to give the Trojans a 14-7 lead.
From that point in the third quarter the Trojan defense stepped up and secured the win. Durr made a spectacular play on the next defensive series. He took on two blockers and still made a tackle in the backfield to shut down the Jaguars.
Three of the Trojans’ next four offensive drives ended with turnovers, but the defense prevailed. Pittman had a miscue on an option play that resulted in a fumble and the Jaguars took over. The Trojan defense forced a punt. Pittman, under pressure, threw a quick pass in Franks’ direction that was intercepted. The Trojan defense responded with an interception by Cayden Bridges. The offense was unable to score and had a turnover on downs.
The Trojan defense continued to dominate the Jaguars. JDC showed some signs of desperation and abandoned their offensive scheme and went with a traditional spread look. The strategy change was also unsuccessful.
The Trojan offense took over deep in their territory, and the drive ended in another turnover. Bridges had the ball stripped and the fumble was recovered by the Jaguars. On the Trojans’ 16 yard line the Jaguars were looking to even the game. However, the Trojan defense had other plans, and forced another turnover to get the ball back for their team.
Pittman was shaken up during the next offensive series and left the game for a play. He was replaced by sophomore quarterback Tristian Newsome. Newsome entered the game facing a crucial third down. He stood in the pocket and hit Franks on a well-timed route across the middle for a first down to keep the clock moving late in the fourth quarter. Pittman returned and continued to run the ball effectively late in the game.
The Jaguars possessed the ball with 1:03 left in the game near the Trojan 20 yard line, but there was never any doubt that the Trojans were in control. With 54 seconds left in the game, the Jaguars took one last shot on a deep pass to the endzone that was knocked down by Chandler Pittman to seal the Trojans’ victory.
The Trojans have played championship caliber defense throughout the year, and this was another game of validation, as to why they are the favorites to win it all. The Trojans were able to hold a generally explosive Jaguars team to 7 points.
Chandler Pittman finished the game with 15 carries for 31 yards and a touchdown and completed 13 of 26 pass attempts for 180 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
Xavier Franks led all receivers with five receptions for 98 yards, followed by Cayden Bridges, who had 5 receptions for 62 yards.
The story of the game was told on defense. Jody Durr finished the game with 12 tackles and registered three for a loss. Jameyian Spencer recorded 9 tackles followed by Keywhaun Duckworth with 7 tackles and a sack. Bridges and DQ Levy each recorded an interception.
The Trojans face another tough matchup this Friday as they travel to face the Columbia Wildcats.