Jackets fall in final home game
Published 10:43 pm Sunday, October 29, 2017
For a half, Middlesboro was able to hang with Williamsburg with the home Jackets trailing by a touchdown heading into halftime. A few turnovers and several big plays allowed Williamsburg to pull away for a 42-21 victory in the second half.
“We’re starting to get healthy, we’re just rusty and it showed tonight. We missed some reads offensively and just weren’t real sharp at the beginning of the game,” Yellow Jacket coach Zach Massengill said. “The kids battled and that’s all you can ask for at the end of the night.”
The trio of Anthony Jackson, Owen McWilliams and Michael Carroll helped pace the Middlesboro offense. McWilliams finished the night with a team-high 129 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Carroll ran for 75 yards on 10 carries. Jackson rounded out the group with 54 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
“At the beginning of the year we were so excited because we had about five kids back there who could run the ball and you really couldn’t key on one of them. We’re almost back to where we need to be,” said Massengill. “Anthony is rusty, but he comes out and competes. With him in there, it opens things up for Owen and Michael and Alex Mason. All of those guys run hard and they complement each other well.
“Anthony is a threat, Owen showed tonight he can go the distance at any time and so can Michael. Hopefully, we’ll be tough to defend next week. We’ve got to get our reads down and make sure we get the ball to where it needs to be.”
Jackson also completed two passes for 20 yards with Corey Hariston on the receiving end of both.
Williamsburg’s Alec Poore continued to showcase his abilities behind center. The senior quarterback went 21-for-31 passing for 404 yards and four touchdowns. He also tallied 27 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Eli Mattingly was the main target in the passing game hauling in seven catches for 226 yards and four touchdowns. Darrell White caught eight passes for 79 yards.
The visiting Jackets got things started in the first quarter. A 10-yard touchdown pass from Poore to Mattingly capped a 10-play drive with 8:41 remaining in the first. The Clay Kysar extra point gave Williamsburg a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, a Middlesboro fumble was recovered by the visiting Jackets on the Middlesboro 36. Poore connected with Mattingly for a second touchdown to increase the lead to 14-0 with 8:08 remaining in the first.
The home Jackets began finding their stride in the second quarter. With 9:45 remaining in the half, Jackson capped a 10-play, 48-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown. The Brandon Helton kick cut the lead to 14-7. That score remained intact for the remainder of the half.
Williamsburg recovered a squib kick to begin the third quarter and took over at the Middlesboro 34. A 1-yard touchdown plunge by Poore increased the lead to 21-7.
The Yellow Jackets found the end zone for a second time on their next possession. After taking over around the 50, Jackson found space up the middle for a 34-yard run. Jackson and Carroll combined for 15 yard over the next two plays before the senior quarterback found pay dirt on a run up the middle to cut the lead to 21-14 with 8:52 remaining in the third.
Poore found Mattingly again on an 83-yard touchdown pass on third-and-24 to increase the Williamsburg lead to 28-14.
The visiting Jackets outscored Middlesboro 14-7 down the stretch to earn the 21-point victory.
Middlesboro (2-8) will travel to Prestonsburg (6-4) on Friday for the first round of the playoffs.
Williamsburg (7-3) will have a first round bye. They will host the winner of Harlan at Pikeville in the second round on Nov. 10.
Jay Compton of the Pineville Sun contributed to this report.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN