Jennings, Jackson team up again to lead Mahoning County in Jack Arvin Classic
By Brian Dzenis
Valley Christian players of near and distant past lifted Mahoning County in the MVCA Jack Arvin Classic on Thursday night.
The Eagles’ Jamnyk Jackson scored two touchdowns and Domonhic Jennings reprised his role under center in a 12-7 victory at Canfield High School.
Jennings — who threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Jackson — spent his senior season at Boardman after transferring from Valley Christian. Despite playing quarterback for the Eagles, the Spartans used him as a running back.
“I threw the ball in our first game against East and then I never threw the ball again. I haven’t played quarterback for an entire year,” Jennings said. “Coming out today and playing quarterback, I loved it. I cried when I threw that touchdown pass. I’m not going to lie.”
Jennings had a nomadic high school career. He moved to the Mahoning Valley from Lynchburg, Va., when his father — Albert Jennings — became the head coach with the Eagles for a season.
“I do not regret going to Boardman. Boardman grew me up from a mental standpoint and with learning about how life works,” Jennings said. “Boardman grew me up as a person.”
Jennings passed for 76 yards and rushed for 21. He’ll attend Fork Union Military Academy to reclassify as a recruit in the class of 2019. Jackson earned MVP honors for his team after taking a kickoff 97 yards for the deciding touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“As a skill player, you create your blocks,” Jackson said of the game-winning TD. “I created my block, found a hole and then bounced outside.”
The win snapped a two-year losing skid for Mahoning County in the Classic.
“That’s what were worried about, getting this victory,” Jackson said. “It’s all about having fun, but we’re here to get this victory.”
Jennings’ TD passing to Jackson broke a scoreless stalemate late in the third quarter. For Jennings, it was easy going to the familiar face.
“Jamnyk is fun. I knew from playing with him that he can burn anybody on this field,” Jennings said. “I knew he had the confidence to do it and I had the confidence in my arm, so it was just exciting that I could give that to him.”
Trumbull County relied on its run game of Brookfield’s Alex Clark and Liberty’s Dra Rushton to try and rally. Rushton skipped over defenders near the goal line to take a 7-6 lead in the fourth quarter. Jackson scored on the ensuing kickoff.
Clark was the MVP for Trumbull County. Playing in his last game with his father, Randy, as his head coach, Clark carried a game-high 18 times for 97 yards.
“I wasn’t expecting to get too many carries today, but it worked out. It felt like a normal game,” Clark said. “It was like a lot of our games last year.”
On the final Trumbull County drive, Austintown Fitch’s Michael Ferree sacked Rushton for a seven-yard loss on first down. Trumbull didn’t make much progress and found itself facing a fourth-and-15 with 2:44 left to play at Mahoning’s 45-yard line.
Mahoning took consectutive offsides penalties to make it fourth-and-5. Rushton found himself under pressure and dumped the ball off to Clark, who was tackled at the line of scrimmage.
“We couldn’t convert. I made a bad read,” Clark said.
“I went outside when I should have stayed in the middle.”
Mahoning County’s defense forced two turnovers. East’s Greg Lincoln intercepted Lakeview’s Zach Rogers in the end zone in the second quarter and Boardman’s Bob Toth recovered a Rushton fumble in the first quarter. Lakeview’s Drew Munno fell on a botched Mahoning handoff in the first quarter.
MAHONING 12, TRUMBULL 7
MAHONING — Jamnyk Jackson 40 pass from Domonhic Jennings (kick blocked), 4:37.
TRUMBULL — Dra Rushton 2 run (Noah Busefink kick), 8:58.
MAHONING — Jackson 97 kickoff return (kick failed), 8:39.
RUSHING — Mahoning, Jennings 4-21; Trumbull, Alex Clark 18-97, Rushton 9-37.
PASSING — Mahoning, Jennings 3-4-0-76, Jonah Spencer 3-6-1-56; Trumbull, Rushton 4-5-0-17.
RECEIVING — Mahoning, Jackson 2-63; Trumbull, Nate Fowler 4-16.