A recovered 'squib kick' helps Jackson take control late in the first half.
MARYSVILLE — It may have been a nonleague WesCo South vs. WesCo North matchup, but Jackson coach Joel Vincent was ready to gamble.
Vincent decided to roll the dice late in the first half Friday night and it turned out to be the biggest play of the game in a 16-14 Jackson win over Marysville-Pilchuck.
Jackson scored with 34 seconds left before halftime to take a 13-7 lead when Sam Brown hit Josh Gilbert with a 19-yard scoring pass.
Vincent decided that wasn’t enough and went for a quasi-onside kick that led to the game-winning points.
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Jackson’s Alex Warner recovered the kick for Jackson at the M-P 46. Two quick completions, including a 31-yard pass from Brown to Andrew Dodd, moved the ball to the 11 where Trevor Hodge made a 28-yard field goal as the half ended.
Vincent said it really wasn’t too big a gamble.
“It is an onside kick, but it isn’t,” Vincent said of the key play of the game. “We kick it at a guy in the front line and if it hits him, great. But we were planning to cover the field so it was kind of a squib kick. It just so happened that it hit their guy and we recovered. At that point, I still thought it was going to be a high-scoring game.”
Marysville-Pilchuck got 140 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries from senior Cody House, but turned the ball over five times in the game, losing four fumbles and giving up an interception.
“You just can’t turn the ball over that many times,” Marysville-Pilchuck coach Brandon Carson said. “It could have been first-game jitters, but that’s something we have to get fixed. We’ll get that corrected and we’ll be OK.”
Even with all the turnovers, Marysville-Pilchuck had a chance to win, moving to the Jackson 40 before time expired.
“I liked our resiliency and the way we competed,” Carson said.
Brown completed 13 of 26 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown and Vincent said his senior quarterback is only going to get better.
“He’s had better games, but I’ll take it for the first game of the season,” Vincent said. “We had some drops and he had some rust on him, but he’s a known commodity. He had some pressure, especially from 76 (Calvin White) and he handled it.”
The two late scores before halftime came after Marysville-Pilchuck had tied the game on a 43-yard run by House with 2:47 left before the break.
Trevante Robinson opened the scoring for Jackson with 19-yard run the first time he touched the ball.
Marysville-Pilchuck pulled within two points when Kyle Nobach caught a 27-yard scoring pass from sophomore Jake Luton with 11 minutes left in the game.