By Brandon Judeh
The Jackson-Milton football team was on the edge of something special Friday night as they took on Inter Tri-County League Tier Two rival McDonald.
The Bluejays were looking for the first playoff berth in school history. The Blue Devils were looking to return to the playoffs for the first time in two seasons and might have gotten there with a 48-14 victory.
“Our focus this week was to come in here and win so we could get in the playoffs,” said McDonald head coach Dan Williams. “Jackson-Milton is a dangerous team and can score quickly, so we challenged our defense to not give up the big play and they responded.”
So did junior running back Randy Walters.
Walters, who has been used as a backup running back and tight end, came up big for the Blue Devils (7-3, 5-2 ITCL Tier Two) with 173 yards on eight carries.
Touchdown runs of 48 and 62 yards highlighted Walters’ night to remember.
“I think those two runs really gave us some momentum and was a great way to keep our team going,” he said. “We were so pumped up coming into this game because we haven’t been to the playoffs in a couple of years, so we wanted to come in and get it done.”
Walters also added two 1-yard touchdown runs.
McDonald dominated on the ground, rushing for 467 yards against a Jackson-Milton team that was allowing just 239 total yards per game.
“Our offense knew that we had to come in here and establish the run early, get ahead on the scoreboard and stay ahead,” Williams said. “I’m proud of both our linemen and running backs. They did such a great job tonight.”
It was a special season for the Bluejays (6-4, 4-3) as they turned things around after finishing 0-10 in 2012.
Jackson-Milton head coach Mark Assion knew his team would turn some heads this season.
“We tripped over our own feet in the first game of the season, but rebounded and really turned things around, picking up some big wins this season and being on the verge of the playoffs,” Assion said.
Assion also hopes the success of this season will carry over in years to come for the Bluejays as they look to sustain their success.
“We are hoping this season is going to pay dividends down the road, putting the spread offense in to this program was the right way to go and we have been absolutely fantastic at it,” Assion said. “It was great to see the community come out and support us like they have all season.”
Leading the way for the Bluejays was senior quarterback Jeremy Fitzpatrick who threw for 229 yards and ran for a touchdown. Thomas Gatewood had 84 receiving yards and will finish the season as one of the area’s top targets.
McDonald’s Matt Morrell ran for 120 yards on 11 carries and Jake Reckard had 112 yards on 16 attempts.