Late score lifts Jackets past Panthers, 34-28

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By Goose Lindsay

It was one of those games that left Kingston Yellow Jacket football fans without any finger nails, but in the end all the nail-biting was worth it as Vic King's squad used a five-yard touchdown pass from Darren Mossing to Aaron Fielden with 1:04 left to play to give the Jackets a 34-28 victory at Stone Memorial.

Friday's victory keeps Kingston undefeated on the season as the Jackets are now 4-0. Friday's victory was also a District 4-AA victory and keeps the Jackets tied for first place in the district with Christian Academy of Knoxville and Alcoa. All three teams are 2-0 in district play.

Friday's game started with both defenses coming up with stops, but it was Kingston's offense that drew first blood as the Jackets second drive of the night was a four-play, 52-yard drive that ended with Darian Sams scoring from four yards out with 3:42 left in the opening period. 

Andy Spellman added the PAT to give the Jackets an early 7-0 lead.

Aaron Fielden set up the score with a 31-yard run.

Stone Memorial answered with a 10-play, 82-yard drive that tied the score at 7-7 with 11:50 left in the first half.

Donnie Jackson scored for the Panthers on a 34-yard run.

Kingston, however, came right back as Sams returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Panthers 30-yard line. Coty Groves scored six plays later on an eight-yard run to make the score 14-7 with 9:45 left in the second period.

The seesaw affair continued on the Panthers next drive as Stone Memorial drove 78 yards in nine plays with Jackson scoring on a five-yard run to make the score 14-13 with 5:17 left in the first half.

The Panthers' PAT was no good.

Kingston answered again as the Jackets traveled 65 yards in two plays with the Jackets finding the end zone on a spectacular 38-yard reception by Robbie Szozda on a Darren Mossing pass.

Spellman's PAT made the score 21-13 with 3:46 left until halftime.

Kingston's defense made the lead stick until intermission as Szozda and Caleb Kennedy both came up with interceptions for the Jackets.

Kingston wasn't able to turn the picks into points though as the Jackets took the eight-point lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Jackets took advantage of good field position to score their next touchdown.

Kingston forced the Panthers to punt from their own one yard line to start the second half then Szozda returned the ensuing punt 27 yards to the Stone Memorial three yard line. Groves scored from there as the Jackets held a 28-13 lead with 9:51 left in the third period.

The next five minutes of game time would see sloppy play from both teams. 

The Panthers punted and fumbled on their next two possessions while Kingston fumbled and threw an interception of their own on the next two drives.

Stone Memorial finally got things going late in the period as Jackson capped a four-play, 43-yard drive with a five-yard run that made the score 28-20 with 3:07 left in the third period.

Kingston tried to add  to their lead on their ensuing possession a the Jackets drove 73 yards to the Panthers 5 yard line in 14 plays. The drive came up empty, however, when Spellman missed a 22-yard field goal with 7:52 left in the contest.

The Panthers tied the game at 28-28 2:58 later when QB Dustin Dishman scored on a 12-yard run. B.J. Carr's two-point conversion run knotted the score with 4:54 left to play.

Kingston came back with another long drive as the Jackets used a 33-yard pass from Mossing to Jones to reach the Panthers 15 yard line, but the drive ended in a missed 32-yard field goal with 2:25 left to play.

Stone Memorial had all the momentum at this point, but one penalty, two incomplete passes, and an Aaron Fielden QB sack later, the Panthers were punting from their own 7 yard line.

Kingston took over at the Panthers 29 after the punt and after a 15-yard penalty moved the ball to the 44, Mossing found Szozda for a 39-yard gain down to the Panthers 5. Mossing found Fielden for the touchdown on the next play as Kingston took a 34-28 lead with 64 seconds remaining.

Any hopes of a Panther victory ended on the first play after the kickoff as Preston King picked off a pass for the Jackets.

Kingston ended the evening with 326 yards of total offense on 54 plays. 

The Jackets ran the ball 36 times for 126 yards with Groves' 58 yards on 12 carries leading the way.

Mossing added 187 yards passing as he completed 10 of 16 passes.

Stone Memorial also had 326 yards of offense. Jackson led the way with 117 yards rushing on 18 attempts while Dishman added 145 yards through the air.

The Jackets will look to improve to 5-0 on the season Friday night when they travel to Lenoir City to take on the 2-2 Panthers.

Kingston Statistics

Rushing- Groves 12-58 with 2 TDs, Fielden 8-46, Mossing 8-4, Foster 6-12, Sams 2-6 with 1 TD.

Passing- Mossing 10 of 16 for 187 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT., Szozda 1-1 for 13 yards, Team 0-1.

Receiving- Fielden 7-80 with 1 TD, Szozda 3-87 with 1 TD, Jones 1-33.