Jones County rallies past Upson-Lee in second half for 34-15 victory in preseason scrimmage game
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The Greyhounds open the 2018 season Thursday at 7 p.m. against the Howard Huskies at the Ed Defore Sports Complex stadium in Macon, hoping their starting unit plays better than in lastFriday’sscrimmageagainst Upson-Lee at home.
Jones County won the preseason game 34-15 at home, but most of the scoring came from the second and third team players going against Upson-Lee’s backups in the second half.
In the first half, with the starters from both teams on the field, Upson-Lee built a 15-7 lead.
Jones County’s No. 1 offense drove for a touchdown in its first and only possession of the second half to cut the margin to 15-13, and the Greyhounds’ second and thirdteamers added three more touchdowns to complete the rally.
“We’re just young and inexperienced, with a lot of firstyear starters out there, and it showed,” coach Justin Rogers said.
“We had a lot of little mistakes that hurt us. We had some good drives where we stopped ourselves with turnovers or penalties. That’s the stuff that beats you, but it is also the kind of mistakes you can correct, and that’s what we’ll be working to do.
“We started playing better as we went along, and then our second team guys were able to do some things playing against their No. 2s.”
Both teams had 67 plays on offense. Jones County finished with 439 yards – 238 on 13 receptions in 26 attempts and 201 on 41 carries. The Knights had 371 yards – 318 on 45 carries and 53 on 10 receptions in 22 tries.
Both teams were hurt by turnovers. Jones County lost two fumbles in the first half. Upson-Lee lost four of its seven fumbles, and the Greyhounds intercepted two passes, with Dominic Bass getting one and Matthew Green the other.
Junior Hunter Costlow completed nine of 19 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns for Jones County, with junior Jontavias Robertson catching five of the passes for 82 yards. Costlow’s touchdown tosses came on a 36-yarder to Robertson and an 18-yarder to junior John Walton.
Senior running back Semaj Ingram had 74 yards on 11 carries.
Inthesecondhalf,sophomore DawsonSkinnercompletedfour of seven passes for 103 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown toss to Cameron Rockmore on his first attempt that gave the Greyhounds their first lead.
Sophomore Daniel Scott scored Jones County’s final two touchdowns on short runs in the fourth quarter. He finished with 48 yards on 10 carries.
Bad snaps remained a problem for the Greyhounds on special teams, especially on punts.
The first, way over the head of senior punter Colby Gordon, gave the Knights the initial lead. Gordon alertly chased the bad snap down and kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety to give up only two points and avoid a touchdown.
After trading punts and turnovers, Upson-Lee used two quick sweeps to score itsfirsttouchdown,thescore coming on a 15-yard keeper by quarterback Demeke Colbert.
“Weplayed well attimeson defense,but we can’tlet them get on the edge the way we did there in the first half,” Rogers said. “They burned us with some long runs out wide.”
Jones County answered theKnights’firsttouchdown with a quick drive of its own, going 70 yards in five plays. Costlow hit Robertson on screen passes for gains of 31 and 36 yards, the second one good for the touchdown.
Upson-Leescoredatouchdown late in the first half to stretch its lead to 15-7. After driving 88 yards to the Jones County 5, it appeared the Greyhoundshadstoppedthe Knights when they hit Thadd Webb as he caught a screen pass at the line of scrimmage. Webb fumbled, but the ball trickled into the end zone where Chance Gamble fell on it for the touchdown.
The Greyhounds’ first team offense went 42 yards, after Upson-Lee lost a fumble, early in the second half to cut the lead to 15-13 when Costlow passed 18 yards to Walton.
Both teams then went to their benches, and Jones County proved to have the best backups, taking control the rest of the way.