HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Jenkins outlasts Jackson 28-21

All wins aren’t created equal, and for first-year coach Jason Cameron and his Jenkins Warriors, Friday night was a perfect example of that.

 

The Warriors outlasted Jackson 28-21 at Garden City Stadium in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs, advancing to play Cook County at home next week.

“Survive and advance, man,” Cameron said. “We’ve come this far, and tonight we advance over a phenomenal four seed in Jackson. We didn’t play very well, but we played well enough.”

The score was 21-14 in favor of Jenkins heading into the fourth quarter. Senior running back Ameen Stevens took his 22nd carry of the evening into the end zone from 4 yards out to seal the win for Jenkins. The game, however, wouldn’t end without a scare for the Warriors.

After Stevens’ touchdown, with just under three minutes remaining, Jackson drove 80 yards in three plays before scoring on an 8-yard fade from Daryan Ingram to Dequarius Johnson.

The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Jenkins, but when the Warriors went three-and-out, their defense was forced to stop the Red Devils one last time to preserve the win. They did, and the Warriors breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Jenkins (11-0), ranked fourth in the state, came in as the top seed from Region 3. Jackson (5-6) was an impressive-looking four seed from Region 4.

None of that seemed to matter once the game kicked off.

Jenkins began the scoring on its first drive of the opening quarter by flashing the athleticism that led it to its first-ever undefeated regular season. From the Jackson 34-yard line, quarterback Javonte Middleton threw a deep ball to the far corner of the end zone for his go-to receiver, Tyrone Scott. The Central Michigan commit jumped high above the Jackson cornerback and safety to haul in the pass for an early 6-0 Warrior lead.

Jackson would answer, however.

After Jenkins fumbled a punt on its own 35, the Red Devils took advantage. On the second play of the second quarter, Nakeemiun Lawrence dove in from a yard out to put Jackson on the board. A missed Jackson extra point allowed Jenkins to keep the lead, and the Warriors added to that lead.

Stevens, who is called “The Tree Stump” for his stocky build, took a Middleton handoff straight up the gut from 5 yards out for his first of three rushing touchdowns.

The senior finished the night with 209 yards rushing and three scores on 30 carries.

“Ameen Stevens is, hands down, the player of the year for my money,” said Cameron.

“Our offensive linemen were literally picking him up off the ground after every carry towards the end of the game. He’s a load and he’s a workhorse night in and night out for this team. If a college would just take a chance on him and give him an offer, man they would be getting a gem.”

Scott finished with six receptions for 100 yards and a score. Teammate Treshawn Douse added three catches for 77 yards, including a pivotal 50-yarder late in the fourth quarter. Middleton completed 10 of 15 passes for 185 yards, with one touchdown and an interception.

Jenkins led 14-6 at the half. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter.

JHS|0|6|8|7|-21

HVJ|7|7|7|7|-28

First quarter

HVJ-Tyrone Scott 34 pass from Javonte Middleton (Michael Greco kick)

Second quarter

J- Nakeemiun Lawrence 1 run (kick failed)

HVJ-Ameen Stevens 5 run (Greco kick)

Third quarter

HVJ-Stevens 19 run (Greco kick)

J-Daryan Ingram 50 pass from Dequarius Johnson (Corey Brown run)

Fourth quarter

HVJ-Stevens 4 run (Greco kick)

J-Ingram 8 pass from Johnson (Edgar Alvarado kick)

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