Jackson grinds out commanding win over Mt. Healthy

New staff member Spencer Waugh had a busy weekend being at both the Jackson - Mt. Healthy game on Friday and watching Lancaster play Grove City on Saturday.

The Jackson Ironmen played their final game at 73 year old Jackson Ironmen Stadium, and for a program with over 500 wins, it appropriately ended with an Ironmen victory.  Jackson used hard
smash-mouthed play to dominate a quick squad from Mt. Healthy.  The Owls were out-gained 335 to 93 in total yards, and gained only 5 first downs to Jackson's 20.

Still the Owls led 21-13 at half-time after trailing 13-0 with only 4:30 to play in the half.  Big special teams plays and turnovers nearly handed the victory to Mt. Healthy.  Following an 8-yard TJ McDonald touchdown run, Mt. Healthy's Andre Bookins returned a squibbed kick-off 39 yards to the Jackson 23-yard line.  On the second play the Owl's Cory Borden got Mt. Healthy on the scoreboard with a 17-yard TD run.  The ensuing kick-off appeared to be headed to the endzone, but bounced and died on the goal line.  Jackson's Evan Gallimore picked up the ball, but was hit and brought down at the one-yard line for no gain.  Three plays later Jackson's McDonald fumbled, and Mt. Healthy took advantage with a 4-yard Borden touchdown.  The PAT put Healthy on top 14-13.  The Owls added one more score before the half, again aided by a special teams miscue.  A punt of only 10-yards set Healthy up on the Jackson 24-yard line.  Once again it was Corey Bolden who made it 21-13.

But the second half was a clinic in ball-control offense for the Jackson Ironmen.  The Red and White came out and used a four minute 64-yard drive that was aided by a 30-yard TJ McDonald run that put the ball inside the Mt. Healthy 5 yard-line.  Following one dropped touchdown pass, Jackson quarterback Jared Humphreys connected with Tight End Randy Fisher for a six yard score.  The Ironmen two-point try was converted when Humphreys found McDonald.  The Jackson Ironmen stood strong on defense, holding the Owls to a three and out.  They would be the only three plays Healthy would run until 7:00 to go in the football game.

The ensuing Jackson drive was a thing of beauty for ball-control football fans eyes.  A 17-play 75-yard drive ate up nearly 10 minutes on the clock.  A mixture of runs from the Fullback McDonald and quarterback Humphreys moved the chains and ran down the clock.  The drive was capped off by an 8-yard Humphreys keeper to give the Ironmen a 28-21 lead with 7:31 to play.

The final score of the contest came thanks to yet another special teams miscue, this time when the Owls snapped the ball over the punter's head.  McDonald found pay dirt for his third score of the game, and the Ironmen held a two-score lead, 35-21.  Humphreys and Senior Ryan Delong added interceptions in the last five minutes to seal the Ironmen victory.

Mt. Healthy got 84 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries from Corey Bolden.  Mt. Healthy passers (Eshamel Johnson and Harry McCall) combined to go 2-9 for 17 yards with two interceptions.

For Jackson it was a big day from Senior Fullback/Linebacker TJ McDonald.  McDonald carried a season high 38 times for 228 yards and three touchdowns.  Those numbers put McDonald over 1000 yards rushing on the season.  Junior quarterback Jared Humphreys, a 1000-yard runner and passer during the regular season, continued a stellar season by running27 times for 93 yards and a touchdown while completing 3 of 9 passes for 16 yards and a touchdown.  Humphreys numbers are more spectacular when you account for 5 dropped passes and you figure in the 10-15 yard loss on the final play as Humphreys ran behind the line of scrimmage to run out the clock.

Mt. Healthy finishes the season 8-3.  Jackson moves to 9-2 on the season and will now face Kings Mills Kings (10-1) at Hillsboro Friday November 7, 2003.

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