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It was the best of times.
It was the worst of times.
Wait a minute. Strike that first line.
The football contest between Jefferson Forest and Heritage was strictly the worst of times.
Heritage came away with little for which to hold its collective head high.
Except for a 20-7 win.
Jefferson Forest didn’t even get that.
Instead, the Cavs were served notice that, for all intents and purposes, they are out of contention for a playoff berth.
Heritage, meanwhile, is still in the hunt, though their play Friday night bore scant resemblance to that of a playoff contender.
“I apologize to our school,” said Heritage Head Coach Doug Smith after the game. “This didn’t feel like a win. We didn’t play Heritage football. It’s not fun to be in a game with this many mistakes.”
And, remember, this is from the guy who won.
Just the first quarter featured enough gaffes to fill an entire game.
Each team fumbled twice, and there were a combined seven penalties. Again, that was in the first 12 minutes, alone.
The subsequent 36 minutes weren’t much better.
The Pioneers drew first-quarter blood when they were set up on the JF 41, following a swap of fumbles.
Quarterback Jevontae Parrish led a four-play series that ended with Parrish dancing in to the end zone from ten yards out.
The Heritage PAT was nullified by (surprise!) a flag.
That 6-0 edge would hold through the intermission.
Heritage had a credible threat early in the second quarter, though. With a first-and-ten on the JF 13, the Pioneers were able to move steadily backward until they were out of effective field goal range.
In the second half, Parrish dished to halfback Cedric Sales on the option, who dashed 48 yards to make it 12-0. That touchdown was set up by a nifty scramble by Parrish on a third-and-11.
JF showed some life, however.
Late in the third quarter, Alex Cox played the role of birddog, picking off a Parrish pass while deftly keeping his feet inbounds.
From there, Marcus Jones led the Cavs on a neat drive which featured fine runs by Mikey Wallman, Tyler Fowler and Jones, himself.
Wallman dove into the end zone from the right two-hole. Dylan Sims’s extra point made it 12-7.
But halfway through the fourth quarter, JF coughed it up on the Heritage 11 yard line.
Sales picked up six yards before diving in from five yards out.
That 20-7 score proved insurmountable.
“Any time you give a team that many turnovers, you’re not going to beat them,” said JF offensive coordinator Mike Watts after the game.
“We beat ourselves,” he added.
“As a whole, our defense played very well,” Watts assessed.
He’ll get no argument from this quarter.
The Cav defense really gave up only one significant scoring drive. It showed good resilience, in spite of being out on the field the majority of the game.
Smashing defensive hits were noticed being delivered by Cox, Garrett Neal, Tre Ward and Chad Pinigis, among others.
Had the team not had those four fumbles and an interception, this one might have gone the other way.