HAYNESVILLE — In a game where both teams combined for more than 900 yards of total offense, Haynesville High School safety Jerrell Jackson batted down a pass on fourth-and-5 from Haynesville’s 35 with 1:13 remaining to preserve a 36-35 win over West St. John in a Class 1A semifinal playoff game on Friday night.
After Jackson, also the team’s starting quarterback, took a knee in “victory formation,” the second-seeded Tors advanced to the Class 1A title game, where they will play top-seeded Ouachita Christian at 4 p.m. Friday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Tors were led by running back CaVontae Critton, who had four touchdowns and 206 yards rushing. Haynesville’s Tyus Early added 169 yards rushing.
West St. John running back Kylum Favorite rushed for 202 yards, a pair of scores and a two-point conversion. The Rams’ Jeremy Jackson rushed for 110 yards.
Haynesville outgained West St. John, 466-449.
West St. John jumped to a 22-6 lead following the opening quarter, before Haynesville rallied to tie the game with a pair of second-quarter touchdown drives, which were capped by Critton — and two-point conversion runs from Jerrell Jackson.
The teams combined to gain 587 yards in the first half.
West St. John scored on the second play of the second half — a 65-yard run by Favorite — but Critton answered with 12-yard scoring run. Early rumbled in from 4 yards out and added a two-point conversion with four seconds left in the third quarter to take a 36-29 lead — Haynesville’s first lead of the game.
The Rams got within a point when Lafarrin Stipe hauled in a 35-yard pass from Austin Howard, but the ensuing extra point kick sailed wide with eight minutes remaining.