By KEVIN HARRIS
It was not the prettiest of performances, but the Jeffersonville Red Devils found a way to reach next week’s Class 6A Sectional 8 championship game in Friday night’s semifinal at Blair Field.
Jeff went up 18 points in the opening moments of the second quarter and allowed Columbus North to make a rally to take the lead. The Red Devils made their comeback and pulled out a 30-22 win.
Jeff (6-4) will host Class 6A No. 3 Center Grove in the Sectional 8 title game next Friday at Blair Field. The Trojans trounced visiting New Albany in the other second semifinal on Friday, 70-14.
Big plays were the main reason the Red Devils built their early 18-0 lead.
On Jeff’s first drive, quarterback Cam Northern completed a 31-yard pass to Brandon Coleman and a 30-yard toss to Isaiah Blanton to move the ball to the Columbus North 5-yard line.
That set up three consecutive runs, with the last one being a 1-yard TD scamper by tight end Dionte Allen. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound senior lined up in the shotgun in a Wildcat formation, took a direct snap and ran into the end zone to put the Red Devils up 6-0 with 6:52 left in the first quarter. But Jeff place-kicker Fahuwu Momoh missed the extra-point kick to keep the lead at six points.
The Red Devils struck again 19 seconds later.
On the Bull Dogs’ first play of their second possession, senior wide receiver Michael Vogel caught a 5-yard pass from quarterback Mitchell Kelley. But Vogel fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Jeff senior Dalton Adkins at the North 48.
On the next play, the Red Devils executed a double reverse, followed by the ball being pitched back to Northern. The Jeff freshman then launched a 48-yard TD pass to senior Isaiah Reaves in the middle of the field at the 6:33 mark of the opening period. The score remained 12-0 as the Red Devils failed to convert a two-point conversion run.
North appeared to be on its way to hit paydirt for the first time late in the first. Going to a no-huddle offense, the Bull Dogs (3-7) drove the ball 62 yards on six plays down to the Jeff 1.
On fourth-and-goal, the Red Devils’ defense stopped Kelley for no gain on a quarterback keeper with 1:16 left in the stanza.
Jeff took the momentum from the goal-line stand and increased its lead with another Northern bomb.
With the ball at the Red Devil 45, Northern connected with Blanton on a 55-yard TD pass on first-and-10 to Jeff an 18-0 lead with 11:42 left in the second quarter. During the drive, the Red Devils benefited from two North pass-interference penalties.
The Bull Dogs got back into the game thanks to two long scoring drives in the second quarter.
North went on a 12-play, 60-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Josh Holt. The junior then cut the Bull Dogs’ deficit to 18-8 when he ran into the end zone for a two-point conversion.
After a Jeff three-and-out, North put together a 13-play, 66-yard series that resulted into a 23-yard TD pass by Kelley to wide receiver Weston Moore to slice the Red Devil lead to 18-15. The junior leaped to catch the ball near the goal line in double coverage and got the ball inside the left pylon.
Following a scoreless third quarter, North took its only lead of the night with 3:14 remaining in regulation.
Starting from their own 37, the Bull Dogs took 14 plays to move the ball down to the Jeff 7. During that stretch, the Red Devils converted two fourth-down conversion.
Then on second-and-goal at the Jeff 7, Moore snagged his second touchdown pass of the night on a quick-slant pattern to put North up 22-21. This time, Moore’s TD reception came from Vogel.
Northern got the lead back for Jeff. He completed 4-of-7 passes on the next possession, with the final toss being a 5-yard TD pass to Allen with 2:18 left to give the Red Devils a 24-22 lead. During the drive, Northern completed passes of 27, 26 and 15 yards.
The Bull Dogs drove the ball to the North 48. On fourth-and-9, Red Devil defensive lineman Joseph Simmons picked off a Vogel screen pass. The 6-foot, 290-pound Jeff senior then returned the ball 35 yards to get the ball in the red zone.
Immediately after Simmons’ pick, Allen scored his third touchdown of the night with a 15-yard run with 1:16 left to put Jeff up 30-22. Momoh missed his third extra point of the game to keep the game a one-score game for the Bull Dogs.
The game ended when Vogel threw four straight incompletions.
JEFFERSONVILLE 30, COLUMBUS NORTH 22
Columbus North 0 15 0 7—22
Jeffersonville 12 6 0 12—30
J — Dionte Allen 1 run (kick failed), 6:52.
J — Isaiah Reaves 48 pass from Cam Northern (run failed), 6:33.
J — Isaiah Blanton 55 pass from Northern (pass failed), 11:42.
CN — Josh Holt 3 run (Holt run), 6:56.
CN — Weston Moore 23 pass from Mitchell Kelley (Collin Ebel kick), :50.
CN — Moore 7 pass from Michael Vogel (Ebel kick), 3:14.
J — Allen 5 pass from Northern (kick failed), 2:18.
J — Allen 15 run (kick failed), 1:16.
Columbus North (10-32-84-1): Vogel 4-18-25-1, Kelley 4-10-43-0, Wyatt Barkes 2-3-16-0, Holt 0-1-0-0.
Jeffersonville (12-31-272-1): Northern 12-31-272-1.
Columbus North (65-265): Holt 37-176, Kelley 15-45, Vogel 7-20, Barkes 5-12, Barrett Branum 1-12.
Jeffersonville (22-47): Austin Hines 10-19, Allen 7-19, Northern 4-11, Blanton 1 -(-2).
Columbus North: Moore 5-49, Vogel 3-21, Jonathon Weaver 1-8, Clay Roberts 1-8.
Jeffersonville: Blanton 3-112, Brandon Coleman 3-72, Reaves 1-48, Allen 4-36, Hines 2-4.