For the second-straight week, Parklane battled hard at home against a conference team from Jackson. And for the second-consecutive game, the Pioneers came up short in a heart-breaker.
A week after getting edged by the Jackson Prep Patriots 31-28 in double-overtime, Parklane found itself behind following a two-point conversion and could not respond, falling to Jackson Academy 15-14.
“We just got physically beat up front,” Parklane head coach Brian Stutzman said. “They won the battle on the offensive line.”
While the Parklane defense came into the game looking to continue its stellar play, it was the offense who shined first. The Pioneers (6-5, 0-5) showed their strength in the running game on the opening drive not only moving the ball efficiently, but also taking 8:02 off the first quarter clock. The 15-play, 80-yard drive wrapped with a 6-yard rushing touchdown by Taylor Alford. The extra point was missed but Parklane enjoyed a 6-0 lead.
The Raiders (7-4, 3-2) looked to answer with their own brand of a power run game led by Marcus Harris who had an impressive 12-yard run during the first Jackson Academy drive. However, the next three plays for JA were all pass attempts which registered negative yardage with two incompletions and a Raider receiver being tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
Despite having the momentum from an impressive defensive stop, the offense could not keep it, going three-and-out.
On the Raiders’ next drive, they went back to the run game with the first eight plays of the drive being rushes. With the ball in the red zone, the Pioneer defense once again flashed as a sack by Parklane's Scott Burton for an 11-yard loss pushed the Raiders back to the JA 30-yard line. A 46-yard field goal attempt by Land Geghart went wide left keeping Parklane up 6-0.
But the Parklane offense sputtered once again, going three-and-out on the ensuing possession.
JA put together another lengthy drive with a mixture of run and pass moving the ball down to the Parklane 28, but a sack by Mason Alford for an 8-yard loss once again pushed the Raiders back. The drive stalled following an incomplete pass by Andrew Holmes who was looking for Harris down the far sideline, keeping the hosts ahead 6-0 at the half.
Early in the third quarter, the Pioneers had the momentum from a successful first half, but the Raiders quickly regained it. JA went back to its bruising back in Harris who ran in the ball on every play of the Raiders’ first drive of the second half. The fifth run was an 11-yard gain that also resulted in a touchdown and with the extra point, the visitors took the lead for the first time in the ball game with 9:48 to go in the third quarter.
But like the Raiders, the Pioneers displayed their offensive weapons in Brady Wilson and Alford as the duo combined for 11 runs on the ensuing drive with Wilson getting the bulk. Facing a 2nd and goal from the 2-yard line, Wilson slipped into the end zone following his big offensive line. He also added the 2-point conversion giving Parklane the lead once again at 14-7.
After each team traded a drive apiece that ended in punts, including the third three-and-out of the evening for the Parklane offense, JA found the end zone again thanks to Harris. The sophomore scored on a 27-yard run on the first play of the drive.
Following a couple of offsides calls against the Pioneers on the extra point try, the Raiders decided to go for two. On a close play at the goal line the officials ruled that Harris converted the two-point try, much to the dismay of the Parklane coaching staff and fans who argued that he was stopped short of the goal line.
The Pioneers tried to answer but they could not convert on a 4th-and-3 near midfield resulting in the Raiders retaking possession, eventually running the clock out and escaping with the narrow win.
Coach Stutzman said that he is proud of his team’s effort, but it needs some work as the Pioneers now prepare for the playoffs.
“The kids played hard two weeks in a row,” he said. “We will take that into the playoffs. We are playing pretty good defensively right now. We just have to iron out some things on special teams. Everybody is 0-0 next week as we start the playoffs.”