It wasn’t exactly an A-plus performance, but the Jets did achieve their goal for the week according to head coach Mark Cisar.
“As ugly as this was – and I can’t wait to watch the film because it is not going to be pretty – we won,” Cisar lamented. “A win is a win and we accomplished our goal and that was to go 1-0 this week.”
After the opening kickoff, the Red and White marched all the way down to the Shenandoah 2-yard line before fumbling the ball through the end zone for a touch back.
Miscues, Cisar thought, played a large factor in keeping Shenandoah close.
“Turnovers kept them in the game,” Cisar said. “It all started with me making a bad call on a quarterback keep roll out on the first drive that led to a fumble, but the kids made enough plays to get another win.”
The Jets were guilty of three turnovers on the night, while Shenandoah had nary a give away.
The Zeps (1-1) got the scoring started on their second possession after Brad Densmore intercepted a Jordan Barbina aerial. The drive started in the first quarter and ended with 9:36 to go in the second.
The Zeps used a nine-play drive covering 67 yards. The series featured a 29-yard pass completion from junior quarterback Cody Johnson to senior receiver Billy Miley. Johnson capped the drive with a 9-yard run. The point after failed.
The Jets were intercepted once again and this time it was Johnson with the theft. However, the Green and White would be forced to punt.
This set the Jets up at their own 30-yard line. Senior quarterback Cory Carpenter engineered an eight-play drive, which resulted in a touchdown.
Carpenter completed five of six passes on the drive to three different receivers. Junior Jordan Barbina hauled in two of those passes for 14 and 23 yards. Senior Zach Azallion snared a 19-yard strike before snagging a 5-yard touchdown.
The two teams were tied 6-6 at halftime.
The second half opened with a strange turn of events. Union Local forced a quick three and out, which resulted in a Zep punt.
The electrifying senior Zach Gust scooped up the punt at his own 25, and made a few moves up the left sideline. It appeared as if he was going to be brought down, but Gust kept his balance with his left hand and turned on the burners past the coverage team for an apparent score.
However, that wasn’t the case, as Union Local was called for roughing the punter and Shenandoah received the ball at midfield.
The Zeps capitalized by using a nine play drive to take the lead. Johnson scrambled around, much like he did all night, to give himself time to find Miley on a key 27-yard gain. Three plays later senior Joey Wheeler reached the end zone. Wheeler added the point after for a 13-6 Shenandoah lead.
Union Local answered in a hurry.
The Jets needed just four plays and one minute and 44 seconds to reach pay dirt. Carpenter connected with Barbina on pass plays of 25 and 13 to set up his 3-yard sneak into the end zone. Freshman Adam Kyer clipped the left upright on the point after, but it bounced through to knot the game once again at the end of three.
After a Shenandoah punt, Cisar’s squad set up shop at their own 33. The Jets used six plays and a pass interference call to take thier first lead.
Carpenter and Azallion connected for two 19-yard completions. Barbina capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run with 11:18 left. Carpenter connected with rangy junior Kyle Blackman for the 2-point conversion making it 21-13.
Shenandoah traded punts with the Red and White before starting its final scoring drive.
Johnson used his scrambling ability and right arm to complete a perfect drive by completing 5-of-5 aerials. The junior found four different receivers including a 19-yard pass to Cody Farmer, a 14-yard strike to John Hronec, and a 16-yard touchdown toss to Brandon Lori with 3:00 minutes remaining. The Zeps 2-point try came up short.
Shenandoah forced another punt, but a penalty and sack by senior Adam Miller ended any hope of a dramatic finish.
For the game, Shenandoah rushed for 93 yards. Wheeler led the way with 60 yards and a TD on 19 carries. Johnson finished with 32 yards on 14 totes.
Union Local rushed for just 48 yards on 20 carries. Barbina carried the rock five times for 19 yards. Azallion ran just four times for 11 yards.
Johnson finished his outstanding night by completing 16-of-29 passes for 189 yards and a score. Johnson spread the ball to seven different receivers. Miley lead the way with nine receptions for 92 yards.
Carpenter finished a very productive night 12-of-17 for 177 yards and a TD. Barbina ended his night two-of-five for 21 yards and two interceptions.
“Cory stepped up and did a real nice job at quarterback tonight,” Cisar commented.
Barbina led the receiving core with six snares for 104 yards, while Azallion caught five for 62.
“Jordan stepped up and made some plays at receiver,” Cisar relayed. “He made some bad decisions at quarterback tonight, but I can live with that when you can step it up and be a gamer like he was tonight.”
Gust, for the most part was held in check.
“They did a great job of taking Zach (Gust) away,” Ciser said. “They had a linebacker over top and safety behind all night to take him out of the game and they did, but we had several kids step up and make some big plays when the game was on the line.”
The Union Local defense, once again, was led by senior Carl Perkins who unofficially recorded 16.5 tackles. Seniors Chase Clark and Adam Macy were also in on quite a few stops.
The Jets will gear up for their Week 3 showdown at the Belmont County Fair against bitter rival, St.Clairsville (2-0). Meanwhile, Shenandoah plays host to Meadowbrook (1-1).