On a cold October night, Thomas Jefferson couldn’t overcome a bad first half as Ames left town with a 48-7 victory.
It was a rough start for Thomas Jefferson as its first three possessions in the first quarter resulted in a blocked punt, a punt and a mishandled snap.
“First of all, we can’t basically let them have 21 points and less than 50 yards of total offense and think we’re going to climb out of that hole,” Thomas Jefferson coach Brant Anderson said.
Ames took advantage with three early scores, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Cooper Downs connected with Evan Gray for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Downs and Derek Papin then added scoring runs of three yards.
Thomas Jefferson quarterback Austin Schubert began heating up toward the end of the first quarter and into the second, connecting on passes to Qu’ran Owens and JJ Johanns. Continuing to try and get momentum back, Owens later returned a fumble to the Ames 23.
“Once we opened things up a little bit, we showed we could move the ball on them,” Anderson said. “The next step is finishing those drives.”
On the same drive, Yellow Jacket running back Jermaine Green broke about five tackles up the middle to get T.J. on the scoreboard. Green scored from 14 yards out, making the score 28-7 in favor of Ames.
Thomas Jefferson kept up the defensive pressure on the next drive as Hunter Jones picked off a Downs pass. With only 18.9 seconds left in the half, T.J. made its way into Ames territory but came up empty in the end after a missed field-goal.
Ames got the offense going again in the third quarter, scoring on its first possession of the second half. Downs hit Senior Nate Withers from the 15 to go up 35-7. The key play was on fourth-and-one for Ames. Thomas Jefferson jumped offsides, allowing the Little Cyclones a free first down.
“Start of the second half, we had a couple of chances to get a stop and get off the field,” Anderson said. “Kick return was obviously the biggie.”
Any momentum built up by Thomas Jefferson quickly ended when Withers caught a 30-yard pass from Downs to go up 42-7. A bad snap and a fumble scooped up by Branden Roberts of Ames ended the game, and the scoring at 48-7.
Despite the rough start to the game, Thomas Jefferson kept fighting.
“The kids played hard,” Anderson said. “They always do. We get a lot of comments about how hard our kids play, regardless of what the scoreboard is, and they did that again tonight. Our kids know what the score says on the scoreboard doesn’t impact their effort, doesn’t impact their attitudes and how they play the game. They keep living up to that.”
Ames (3-4, 3-0) 21 7 14 7--48
Thomas Jefferson (3-4, 1-2) 0 7 0 0--7
A: Evan Gray 15 pass from Cooper Downs (Will Orth kick)
A: Downs 3 run (Orth kick)
A: Derek Papin 3 run (Orth kick)
A: Downs 3 run (Orth kick)
TJ: Jermaine Green 14 run (Carter Harold kick)
A: Nate Withers 15 pass from Downs (Orth kick)
A: Withers 30 pass from Downs (Orth kick)
A: Branden Roberts 55 fumble return (Orth kick)
Rushing: A, Cooper Downs 10-102; TJ, Jermaine Green 12-39, JJ Johanns 2-17
Passing: A, Downs 17-32 148; TJ, Austin Schubert 12-24 183
Receiving: A, Nate Withers 7-59; TJ, Qu’ran Owens 4-71, Johanns 4-66, Hunter Jones 4-46