- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By GOOSE LINDSAY
If Kingston’s luck turns then everyone in Class AAA had better watch out during the playoffs.
As for the regular season, the Jackets just haven’t gotten the breaks and Friday night was another tough loss for Vic King’s squad as Austin-East QB Anton Dean scored from 34 yards out with 1:18 left to play to give the Roadrunners an 18-14 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Friday’s loss comes one week after the Jackets dropped an 8-7 heartbreaker at Knoxville Catholic. In that game, Knoxville Catholic scored a touchdown and two-point conversion in the final two minutes to steal victory from the Jackets.
“We’ve got to start closing the deal,” Kingston head coach Vic King said following the loss. “That’s another game we had until the final two minutes.
“But I’m proud of our effort, everyone played pretty hard. I thought we had ‘em and let ‘em off the hook.”
Victories over the Irish and the Roadrunners would have given the Jackets the regular season Region 2-AAA championship and a home game in next week’s playoffs. Instead, the Jackets are now a No. 4 seed and will head to Region 1-AAA champion Seymour.
Coach King, however, knows seeding doesn’t matter this time of year as anything can happen in the postseason.
“We would have loved to have won and had another home game for our fans, but now we’ll just have to load up and go to Seymour,” King said. “Everybody is 0-0 now and that’s all that counts. A new season starts Friday night.”
Kingston got off to a great start Friday night as the Jackets drove 68 yards in 14 plays with Alex Roberts scoring from one yard out to give the Jackets a 7-0 lead with 3:01 left in the opening quarter.
Austin-East had actually held Kingston to a three-and-out, but the Roadrunners had 12 players on the field on the punt and that kept the Jackets drive alive.
Austin-East also scored on their first possession as Dean hooked up with Jakouri Smith from 21 yards out to cap an eight-play, 61-yard drive that made the score 7-6 early in the second quarter.
Kingston seemed poised to add to their lead on their next possession as a 52-yard pass from Matt Francis to Matt Courteau gave the Jackets a first down at the Roadrunner seven, but a key quarterback sack on third-and-goal led to a turnover on downs at the Austin-East 20.
Austin-East, however, turned the ball over three plays later on a fumble as Kingston took over at the Roadrunner 25 after Alex Roberts’ recovery.
Kingston would not come away empty this time as James Sams capped a seven-play drive with a one yard run on fourth-and-goal. Francis helped set up the score with a 19-yard quarterback draw.
Andy Spellman added the PAT to give the Jackets a 14-6 lead with 1:41 left in the first half.
The Jackets came close to delivering a first half knockout as Adam Jackson came up with an interception on Austin-East’s next possession and his 23-yard return gave Kingston a first down at the Roadrunner 25.
Kingston, however, couldn’t capitalize on the good field position as Spellman missed a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
The second half would be a struggle for the Yellow Jackets as most of the final two periods was played on Kingston’s half of the field.
The Roadrunners opened the second half on offense and marched 66 yards in seven plays with Dean tossing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Chase Jones.
Austin-East missed the two-point conversion to leave the score 14-12 with 9:23 left in the third period.
After a Kingston punt, the Roadrunners drove 62 yards in 13 plays only to come up empty on fourth down at the Jacket 12.
The Roadrunners were their own worst enemy in the drive as they were penalized four times for 37 yards in the drive.
Kingston, however, would give the ball back three plays later when a Francis bomb was picked off near midfield.
Starting from their own 38, the Roadrunners put together a 10-play drive that reached the Jacket 16, but again the Kingston defense rose to the occasion as a Dean pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-two.
At this point, the Jackets needed to put together a drive to run out the clock, but that wouldn’t happen as Austin-East forced a three-and-out that would give the Roadrunners one more chance to score.
Austin-East wouldn’t miss out this time as Dean rolled out and raced down the left sideline for a 34-yard score with 1:18 left to play. The run capped a two-play, 45-yard drive.
Kingston would be intercepted on their next possession, but the Jackets would get the ball back with 13.7 seconds after using three time outs. However, they could not complete a late bomb to pull out the win.
The Jackets ended the game with 163 yards offense on 45 snaps.
Brad Riddick led the ground attack with 37 yards rushing on seven carries. Francis completed four passes for 67 yards.
Dean and the Roadrunners amassed 299 yards of offense on 49 snaps. Dean rushed the ball 10 times for 166 yards with a touchdown and he also completed nine of 13 passes for 111 yards with two TDs.
Kingston will play at Seymour Friday night at 7 p.m. while Austin-East hosts Grainger County.
Rushing- Sams 8-7 with 1 TD, Roberts 11-36 with 1 TD, Riddick 7-37, Francis 5-16.
Passing- Francis 4-13 for 67 yards with three interceptions, Sams 0-1.
Receiving- Courteau 1-52, Sams 3-15.