Defense carries JDA Raiders to win

  • John Williams, #9 of the Hawks, ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns against Great Falls High.

The Jefferson Davis Academy Raiders may have limped off the field Friday, Sept. 1 against St. Johns Academy, but they did it with a victory in hand.

After last week’s tough loss to Andrew Jackson Academy, Jefferson Davis Academy took care of business against the Cavaliers thanks to an incredible defensive performance.

With two of their offensive stars sidelined with injuries, the defense provided the fireworks as they held one of the top-scoring offenses in SCISA to a single touchdown in a 8-6 victory.

Jefferson Davis Academy racked up a season-high six sacks and three takeaways while holding a St. Johns Academy team that averaged 56 points per game to its lowest offensive output of the season.

JDA coach Michael Tindall said it was an awesome team performance.

“I have got to thank the football gods for this one,” Tindall said. “After the injuries, we just had to dig in and find a way to win. Our defense kept us in the game on a night when our offense struggled.”

Except for a 28-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers’ offense were stifled and kept out of the end zone.

The unit, led by Tyler Renew, Dalton Beasley, Wyatt Brant, Jimey Bozard, Hunter Beach, Samuel Frederick and Trent Jamison, rose to the occasion, especially in the second half with the team protecting a touchdown lead.

Tyler Renew and Samuel Frederick were the top standouts of the group. Renew caused the most havoc, finishing with 10 tackles, including three tackles and two sacks on the the final two drives. Frederick registered nine total tackles.

Another player who came up big was Jeremy Davis. Davis was thrust into duty in the secondary after injuries to Brant and Morris. Davis was challenged twice by the Cavaliers with deep passes, but he had good position and broke up the passes on both attempts.

“This is arguably the best defensive performance we had since I’ve been here. Outstanding effort from everyone,” Tindall said.

Special teams also played a key role in the victory. Hunter Beach had several booming punts that kept the Cavaliers pinned deep in their own territory. The Raiders’ coverage team played well with Nick Darnell, Trent Jamison and Dalton Beasley excelling on coverage. Beasley made a crucial recovery on a muffed punt in the fourth quarter.

Offensively, it wasn’t one of the Raiders’ better games. Plagued by mistakes and penalties, the unit sputtered most of the game.

After totalling 38 yards on its first three possessions, the unit finally found some continuity midway in the second quarter.

Jimey Bozard, who finished the game with 125 yards rushing, got the team going with a couple of first down runs.

Moments later, the Raiders advanced into Cavalier territory after a 14-yard gain by Chance Morris. The play proved costly for the Raiders. Morris suffered a broken collarbone when he was tackled.

Despite the loss of their top receiver, the Raiders were able to keep the drive going behind the plays of Brant.

After a six-yard run by Bozard, Brant scrambled six yards for another first down. Two plays later, Brant fired a pass in the back of the end zone to Samuel Frederick, who made a terrific catch in traffic to complete the 37-yard scoring play. Bozard ran for the important two-point conversion.

“We didn’t have a good night on the offensive side of the ball. However, we were able to put together the big scoring drive right before the half,” Tindall said.