Indians claim victory over Tigers

by By Aaron Swink Contributing Writer

The Jacksonville Fightin’ Indians came out firing on all offensive, and most defensive, cylinders on Friday night. Sparked by the running and punting prowess of Chris Carpenter, the Tribe rolled to a 43-27 district win over the Tigers of Mount Pleasant in Week 9 action. With the win, Jacksonville improves to 3-6 (2-4) on the season. Unfortunately, thanks to the Nacogdoches Dragons’ 31-13 victory over the Hallsville Bobcats, the Tribe finds itself eliminated from playoff contention.

Carpenter got the visitors on the board three times in the first half of play. All of the scores in his hat trick came on a heavily-used “jet sweep” look, where he took the handoff in motion from his slot receiver position. The first came at the 10:13 mark of the first quarter. Alejandro Pina-Sanchez added the extra point to give JHS the early 7-0 lead.

Carpenter added the next score for good measure after Kenny Canady’s defensive unit held the Tigers on multiple possessions. With 1:55 to go in the opening stanza, Carpenter widened the margin from six yards out. Pina-Sanchez’s kick was true, doubling the Indians’ advantage.

Mount Pleasant added some offensive fireworks of their own later in the second quarter when Tigers’ speedster Dorian Glinton exploded for 50 yards and the home team’s first visit to the endzone at the 7:26 mark. Alex Guzman added the PAT to bring the score to 14-7.

Defense added the next highlight for the Tigers when Jacksonville QB Tristen Shewmake was separated from the football, which was recovered for a touchdown by Dakevian Howard. Guzman’s kick levelled the proceedings at 14-all just 7:10 before the halftime whistle.

The second quarter had more points in store for fans of both teams to enjoy. First, Carpenter completed his impressive half with a 61-yard scoring dash. The ensuing PAT was blocked.

The Tigers next found the endzone through the air for the first time, when junior quarterback Kaleb Thompson hit Jamarian Brown for 34 yards with 3:37 on the clock. Guzman converted the extra point attempt, putting the Tigers on top temporarily at 21-20.

Jacksonville’s defense capped the half in exhilarating fashion. With Thompson looking to drive toward more Tiger points, his pass instead found the arms of the Tribe’s Jaylon Freeney, who took his opportunity to fire up the visiting supporters with a pick-six. Pina-Sanchez slotted through the final point of the half as Jacksonville headed into the locker room up 27-21 and would not trail for the rest of the evening.

The Tribe scored the only points of the third quarter by way of a touchdown connection from Shewmake to one of his preferred targets, Brealyn Riden, for 31 yards. The PAT was good.

Pina-Sanchez added to his tally again in the fourth when he split the uprights with a booming 23-yard field goal. The Tribe kicker finished the night 4 for 6 in PAT attempts as well.

As has been his custom in recent games, Shewmake exhibited some speed for the final Jacksonville touchdown of the night. The junior took the designed quarterback keeper 34 yards, knifing through the Tiger defense to register six points. Mount Pleasant’s Glinton would add a final receiving score, this one from 15 yards away. A two-point conversion attempt failed.

With their playoff fate sealed before the expiration of time at Mount Pleasant’s Sam Parker Field, the Indians now head into Week 10 playing for pride.

Friday night’s contest against the Lindale Eagles will mark the final time Tribe fans can come out and support their “road warriors” this season before the attention turns to next fall’s home opener against Carthage at the totally renovated Tomato Bowl.