Jacksonville football advances to East Regional final with OT win

·3 min read
Jacksonville players celebrate their 27-21 overtime win at Eastern Alamance on Friday in the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional semifinal.
Jacksonville players celebrate their 27-21 overtime win at Eastern Alamance on Friday in the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional semifinal.

Jacksonville just keeps finding ways to win in the football postseason.

Freshman Damon June’s touchdown run on the Cardinals’ first overtime play gave Jacksonville a 27-21 win at top-seeded Eastern Alamance on Friday night in the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional semifinals.

The No. 13-seeded Cardinals (11-2) advance to next week’s regional final, where they will visit sixth-seeded J.H. Rose (10-4) for the right to play in the state championship game. J.H. Rose defeated No. 23 Scotland 49-28 on Friday.

Not only will Jacksonville look to make a second state final in four years, the Cardinals also get a chance to avenge a 28-21 Big Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference loss to the Rampants on Sept. 28.

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The Jacksonville-J.H. Rose winner plays will play the West Regional final winner: third-seeded Greensboro Dudley (13-1) or No. 16 South Point (11-3).

The win at Eastern Alamance was the second consecutive week the Cardinals won in overtime and their third playoff win decided by one possession. Jacksonville won 25-22 in overtime last week at Lee County and won 21-20 at Wilson Hunt in the second round.

Jacksonville's Damon June scored three touchdowns Friday night in a 27-21 overtime win at Eastern Alamance.
Jacksonville's Damon June scored three touchdowns Friday night in a 27-21 overtime win at Eastern Alamance.

“The kids made the plays they needed to make tonight,” Jacksonville coach Beau Williams said. “We are excited and we look forward to playing next week.”

Eastern Alamance (10-2) got the ball first in overtime with the game tied at 21-21. However, the Eagles’ Joey Teixeira was stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line.

“They scored earlier in the game on the same play where they had a direct snap,” Williams said. “This time, we got some penetration. He tried to bounce off, but we got everybody there.”

“I told my defense that we just needed one more stop,” JHS senior defensive lineman Petelo Leae said. “I came through the stuffed it and then everybody came in.”

June then scored from 10 yards out on Jacksonville’s first overtime play.

“We were ready to score after that stop,” senior quarterback Josh Benton said.

June ended with 85 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries. His second touchdown came on a 5-yard run with 3:15 remaining in regulation that tied the game at 21-21. June also had a 14-yard touchdown with 1:22 left in the second quarter that brought the Cardinals within 21-14.

“When went into the locker room, we realized that all we had to do was execute,” Benton said. “It was only a one touchdown game.”

Benton ended for 149 yards on 18 carries and four completions for 43 yards.

Teixeira took a direct snap and ran one yard for a touchdown to give Eastern Alamance a 21-7 lead with 3:02 left in the second quarter. It answered a 50-yard fumble return for a score by Jacksonville’s Christian Constant.

Eastern Alamance took a 14-0 lead into the second quarter as Hunter Douglas threw 40-yard touchdown pass to Kasen McCawley on the game’s first possession and then threw a 15-yard scoring pass to McCawley on fourth-and-15 with 45 seconds left in the quarter.

The Cardinals also had a fumble and an interception inside the red zone in the first half, but managed to overcome the turnovers.

“Eastern Alamance was the No. 1 seed for a reason,” Williams said. “We were able to make the plays we needed to make. The past two weeks we have been in close games. We told our guys to relax and to do their jobs and we would see what happens.”

Chris Miller can be contacted via email at chris.miller@jdnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @jdnsports.

This article originally appeared on The Daily News: Jacksonville football beats Eastern Alamance 27-21 in overtime in regional semifinal

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