McCALLA — When Mortimer Jordan’s Caleb Gandy picked up a shanked McAdory punt and ran it back 58 yards for a touchdown, the momentum change was palpable.
When quarterback Devlin Hodges scored on a 1-yard sneak early in the fourth quarter, the change was even more pronounced.
But it still wasn’t enough to overcome a 21-point lead built up in the first half by the Yellow Jackets, who went on to claim a 21-13 victory over the Blue Devils in Friday’s AHSAA Class 5A playoff game.
Fifth-ranked and unbeaten McAdory built their lead the textbook, old-school way: pound away at the defensive line by running straight at it, then finishing off with a pass after the D-line has softened.
The Jackets used that game plan to perfection on two of their three scoring drives. On the opening possession of the game, quarterback Kyran Moore handed off to running backs Thad Houser and David Knight to get the ball down to the Jordan 29.
That’s when Moore found Jonathan Witherspoon wide open just past the Devils secondary for the touchdown pass, just four minutes into the game.
After stopping a short Jordan drive, McAdory used the same method again, but needed 17 plays to get the ball from their own 6 to the goal line. The big pass came early in the drive, as Moore connected with Houser for 39 yards to get the ball close to midfield.
Moore capped the drive off with a 1-yard sneak, ending a possession that took more than eight minutes off the clock.
The Devils tried to open up the game on the ensuing drive, but Hodges was too high on a throw to Landon Smith, and cornerback Robert Cooks nabbed the interception just before the ball would have hit the ground. Three plays later it was Moore to Witherspoon again, this time for 46 yards with 4:48 left in the half.