The Jackets gave the fans plenty of excitement for their first home game of the season. The stands were filled with fans that helped rally them to a victory on their home field defeating Ezell Harding 34-21.
On the opening kickoff, the Jackets drove the ball 60 yards, but turned it over on downs. Holding Ezell to one first down, the Jacket’s received the punt driving the ball back down to Ezell’s 26-yard line. The Jackets fourth and long netted a 26-yard strike from Hagen Cash to Evan Nunley for the first score of the evening. The two-point conversion was good with a pass from Cash to Chase Nance.
Grundy held Ezell to 4 downs after the following kickoff. Josh Nance dropped the punter on Ezell’s own 5-yard line giving Grundy the ball. Ethan Nunley plunged into the end zone for his first touchdown of the night. Ezell used their speed to score twice before the half tying the game at 14.
Early in the third quarter, Ezell scored their third and final touchdown. Grundy took the momentum back when Ethan Nunley jump started the Jackets comeback with a 70-yard kickoff return. Grundy then controlled the clock and field position with their running game as Ethan Nunley added 3 more touchdowns during the last quarter and a half. Grundy’s defense would not allow any more big plays and contained Ezell’s speed to secure the win.
“I am extremely proud of this team,” said Jackets coach Casey Tate. “They have endured and stayed the course. They showed a lot of fight tonight when they came back and won the second half.
“The seniors really helped keep the team on track and they didn’t throw in the towel. When Ethan and the return team answered their touchdown with the long kickoff return they never looked back. Ethan had a great night rushing the ball, and I thought Evan Nunley stepped up and ran the ball extremely hard tonight.
“Hunter Sylvester and Daygon Dodson ran the ball hard when their numbers were called as well. Hagen also produced well tonight and ran the offense like a general with changing the cadence, ball control and taking what the defense gave him.
“All of that was made possible by the offensive line getting their job done and they all did a great job of that tonight. The defense gave up more big plays than we wanted. Ezell has speed that we aren’t really accustomed to seeing, but the defensive line really stepped up tonight.
“Chase Meeks, Daygon Dodson, Josh Nance, Nicky Johnson, Cody Esslinger, Aaron Comer and Corbin Lusk did a great job staying after their quarterback and slowing their run game down. This team has great leadership and pulled together following the loss last week and that speaks to the character of the young me. I am blessed to be around them daily.”
Offensively, Ethan Nunley led the way with 29 carries for 155 yards and 4 touchdowns. Evan Nunley carried the ball 9 times for 101 yards. Cash had 9 carries for 112 yards. Sylvester had 4 carries for 19 yards and Dodson carried the ball 3 times for 16 yards.
Through the air, Cash was 3 for 11 for 66 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Receiving, Evan Nunley had 3 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.
On special teams, Ethan Nunley had 3 returns for 105 yards. Jordan Hackworth had one return for 20 yards. Cash punted the ball 2 times for 57 yards.
Daygen Dodson lead the Jackets on defense with 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 sacks and one assist. Josh Nance had 5 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks and one assist. Chase Meeks and Corbin Lusk each had 3 tackles and 3 assist. Cody Esslinger had 3 tackles, one sack and 2 assist. Evan Nunley had 3 tackles. Sylvester, Ethan Nunley and Hackworth all had 2 tackles each while Cash and Nicky Johnson had one each.
The Jackets host their first district game tomorrow night against York. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Grundy fans, fall is in the air and what better place to be on a Friday night than sitting under the lights cheering these boys on. Let’s pack those stands again.