Dragons defeat Indians

by Arron Swink Contributing Writer

The Jacksonville Fightin’ Indians had hoped to get district play off to a strong start after two weeks of preparation and some very physical practice sessions designed to shore up their tackling. It was not to be last Friday in Nacogdoches, as the hometown Dragons romped to a 49-14 victory in the District 9-5A-Division II opener for both teams.

Nacogdoches was able to exert its will for most of the game by relying on a steady running attack, interspersed with strong passing from the Dragons’ run-first threat at the quarterback position, Jake Smith. Smith struck through the air first, finding Ja’Khyron Whitaker for the opening touchdown from 26 yards out. Chris Landeros added the PAT to put Nac ahead with 8:03 to go in the first quarter.

Smith hit Ja’tavious Deckard to double the lead about two minutes later. Landeros split the uprights again and at the five-minute mark of the first quarter, the game already appeared to be an uphill battle for the Tribe.

Jacksonville’s senior quarterback Patrick Clater hooked up with H-back Kasey Canady to claw a score back before the first quarter ended. Canady pulled in the pass about three yards shy of the goal line and appeared to be stopped in his tracks, but an incredible second effort saw him battle through a couple of Dragon defenders to get the ball just across the plane, much to the delight of the visiting fans. Senior kicker Alejandro Pina-Sanchez added the extra point to get the Indians back into striking distance at 14-7 with 16 seconds left in the first period.

The Tribe would be shut out for the remainder of the first half while the Dragons added three more scores, all converted by Landeros, to widen the gap. Smith took to the air again, connecting with Nazavian Floyd for a 57 yard score; Camorian Thacker toted in from 9 yards out; and Jamarion Sanders sprinted 58 yards to establish Nac’s massive halftime advantage.

It took almost the entire third quarter, but JHS got back on the board when Clater ran in a read-option play from the one-yard line. Pina-Sanchez was true again, giving the Indians their last point of the evening.

The Dragons added two more scoring plays before the final buzzer sounded. Thacker ran in for another score and Floyd caught a TD pass from backup quarterback Reid Boyett with 21 seconds left in the game.

The Indians fall to 0-1 in district play with the loss in the oldest town in Texas. Wayne Coleman’s men will look to right the ship this Friday when they return home to take on the Whitehouse Wildcats at the historic Tomato Bowl. Whitehouse, coming off a homecoming win over Mt. Pleasant in its district opener last Friday, will be keen to deny the Tribe their first win since the renovation of the downtown Jacksonville landmark. Indian fans can listen to all the action streaming online at JHS-Sports.com. Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. with kickoff set for 7:30.