A week after losing on the final play of the game, Jesuit left nothing to chance.
Central High quarterback Jarrad Hayes fumbled with 1:47 remaining while surging toward a first down and Jesuit’s Colby Simoneaux recovered at the Blue Jays’ 19.
Trey LaForge then completed a 24-yard pass to Kalija Lipscomb to net a first down that closed out the Blue Jays’ 17-14 victory over Central on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.
“I was just hoping it was ours,” Simoneaux said of the fumble recovery. “I didn’t know whether he (Hayes) was down or not. I just saw the ball and jumped on it. This a great win for our team.”
The nondistrict game was tale of two halves for the two 5A teams. Central controlled the first half and led 14-7. The second half belonged to Jesuit. The Blue Jays had a 22-play drive that led to a field goal.
Jesuit (2-1) had 12 second-half first downs, compared to three for Central (2-1). The Blue Jays ran 42 second-half plays compared to 22 for Central.
LaForge completed 18-of-30 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown. Lipscomb caught eight passes for 74 yards, while Chris Mills ran for 42 yards on 13 carries.
“They’re scary,” Jesuit coach Wayde Keiser said of Central. “They’re so athletic and can strike from anywhere on the field. And they’re well-coached. We were holding our breath. I’m really proud of our kids and how hard we played.”
Hayes led Central, completing 11-of-23 passes for 105 yards and one TD. The senior QB also ran for 65 yards on 12 carries.
“First, credit the Blue Jays,” Central coach Sid Edwards said.
“They had a great game plan and did what we had to do. We just had a ton of opportunities we did not take advantage of. And then we left our defense on the field way too long in the second half.”
Two turnovers and a negative play that flipped field position factored in the three first-half touchdowns.
Central drove 14 plays on the game’s first possession and made it to the Jesuit 3. A 20-yard field goal try was blocked by Jesuit’s Mark Bebee. Jesuit’s first three possessions yielded one first down and one turnover. That turnover was crucial.
After Central turned the ball over on downs at the Jesuit 15 on its second possession, Jesuit’s LaForge was intercepted by Donald Lewis, who returned the ball 14 yards.
Caleb Harris scored on a 1-yard run. Greg Noel’s PAT made it 7-0 with 10:21 left in the half.
Central returned the favor when Noel fell on the ground at the CHS 14 after leaping in the air to retrieve a high snap on a punt.
Four plays later, Jesuit tied it on LaForge’s 3-yard TD pass to Mills and a PAT kick by Crew Jacobs with 2:27 to go.
Jesuit’s Brad Davis recovered a first-half fumble. However, Demetri Colomb’s recovery of a fumble by Jesuit’s Kalija Lipscomb with 55 seconds remaining that helped set up the next score.
Hayes hit Joseph Pourciau with a 32-yard scoring strike that made it 14-7.
The second half opened with Jesuit’s 22-play drive that took 7:45 off the clock. Jacobs’ field goal made it 14-10 with 4:15 left in third quarter.
Central’s offense misfired. Several pass plays that could have gone for long gains fell incomplete.
Jesuit started its game-winning drive at the CHS 41 with 8:13. A 17-yard pass from LaForge to Lipscomb powered the drive that ended with Malcolm Ben’s 1-yard TD run with 5:25 left.