ENSLEY, Alabama -- The #7 Jackson-Olin Mustangs used a stingy defense and defeated Homewood 18-10 to go on to win the Class 6A, Region 5 Championship on JO Field Thursday night. Both teams had to fight the rain, wind and a light tower that kept going out through out the game, but the Mustangs defense made the difference in this title game.
Jackson-Olin (9-0, 6-0) goes onto get the number one seed in the region and looks to keep the momentum going into the playoffs in two weeks. "He had to be tough, it's cold and raining, we told them the toughest team will win tonight," said Mustangs head coach Tim Vakakes. "The defense stepped up big again like they did all season. They do it every week. You have to play hard against Homewood. They are a great team. This is an exciting time to be at Jackson-Olin and I'm proud to be a part of it. I'm so proud of our kids."
The Mustangs scored first in the game on a David Robertson 36-yard run right up the middle of the Patriots defense and with the score, Jackson-Olin led 6-0 with :06 seconds left in the first quarter. With a driving rain, Patriots kicker Lane Gilchrist kicked a 21-yard field goal and Homewood cut the lead to 6-3. Thats the way it stayed going into halftime. The Patriots had a chance to score a touchdown but had a big loss on a wildcat play that went through the hands of the Patriots running back.
WIth 10:12 left in the third quarter, Brandon Ward found Kentrel Calhoun on a 48-yard deep ball in the left corner of the end zone and Jackson-Olin pushed the lead to 12-3. The two-point conversion failed. Homewood responded right after the Mustangs touchdown with a score. With 8:01 left in the third quarter, KeOnte Davis scored on a 3-yard touchdown run off right tackle for a score. With the Homewood touchdown, Jackson-Olin led 12-10.
With 6:55 left in the fourth quarter, defensive back Ahmad Williams picked off a Homewood pass and raced 61-yards for a Mustangs touchdown and the defense came through again for Jackson-Olin. With the score, Jackson-Olin led 18-10 after the extra point was missed.
With less than three minutes left in the game, Mustangs defensive back Eardie Poellnitz picked off a Patriots pass to secure the win for Jackson-Olin. "I hate that we had to play a region championship under these conditions, but they handled the weather better than us," said Patriots head coach Ben Berguson. "We knew that their defense was good and they played a great game tonight."
Homewood quarterback Larkin Williams has been playing with a bad foot injury for the last couple of weeks and it looked like with the rain, win and injury it was a tough night for Williams and the Patriots offense. Larkin completed 15-of-35 passing for 181 yards with the two interceptions late in the game.
Up next for both teams, Homewood will host Paul Bryant while Jackson-Olin plays Parker.