NEJ shuts out Florence in homecoming victory

Northeast Jones (4-4, 2-0) made a big splash in region play Friday night with a 16-0 shutout victory over the Florence Eagles (2-6, 0-2). Despite horrid weather conditions for most of the evening, the Tigers outplayed the Eagles in every phase of the game, adding up to a two-score advantage and a win. 

After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers' offense found momentum and put together two consecutive scoring drives. The first ended with a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal by Zymarrian Ducksworth, and the second came on a 65-yard quarterback scramble by Mason Smith. 

Florence put together one drive deep into enemy territory during the fourth quarter, but it came to an end after an interception by Jakendis Jones, his second in the Tigers' last two games. In the final minutes of play, pinned back on their own goal line, the Eagles' quarterback threw the ball away from behind the goal line which resulted in a safety. Smith took a knee and the team celebrated its second straight win to open region competition. 

Coach Keith Braddock says his team anticipated the opportunity to be in this position entering the final stretch of the regular season. "This is where we envisioned ourselves," said Braddock. "We had hoped to be a little ahead of the game earlier, and it didn't happen but we bounced back. We wanted to be in position to compete in the heart of region play with some success, and we're there. If we keep working and keep getting better, we'll have a chance to keep winning games."

Next Friday the Tigers will travel to Clarke County to take on the Quitman Panthers (5-3, 2-0) in hopes of earning a third consecutive win and shoring up their chances of making the postseason. 

Scores from around the area

Laurel 48, Natchez 14

South Jones 21, Jim Hill 20

West Jones 37, Forest Hill 18

Wayne County 42, East Central 40

Taylorsville 48, Heidelberg 6

Bay Springs 50, Puckett 0

Petal 27, Brandon 24

Oak Grove 55, Meridian 6

Picayune 48, Hattiesburg 15

Collins 16, North Forrest 0

Seminary 46, Tylertown 7

Enterprise 28, Mize 22

Leake Academy 41, Wayne Academy 6

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