Highland Springs RB Jamar Jackson (Photo: Byron Jones/recruit804)
Highland Springs downs Varina, 17-7
by Byron Jones, recruit804
It had been 497 days since Highland Springs and Varina went toe to toe. On Friday evening, the two east-end rivals collided in a highly anticipated matchup with the Springers coming out on top 17-7. “It always feels good to beat your rival,” explained Head Coach Loren Johnson. “He continued, “The kids played hard, and it was nerve-racking at times, but we won.”
After both teams exchanged a pair of punts in the opening quarter, Highland Springs senior quarterback Juwan Dent found a wide-open Quanye Veney for a deep pass down the field that put them inside the five-yard line. On the next play, Dent scored from two yards out (PAT Alsheskie) to put the Springers up 7-0. Highland Springs settled for a 24-yard field goal from Alsheskie to go up 10-0 at the break.
The Springers took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched down the field. However, Jamareeh Jones was stopped short on fourth down by Jalen Murphy to give Varina the ball and much needed momentum. The Blue Devils shot themselves in the foot on the ensuing drive after a Jalin Walker touchdown was called back for holding and they subsequently turned the ball over on downs.
Varina would not go down without a fight. Quincy Jefferson intercepted Dent on the Springers following drive to give the Blue Devils the ball back with decent field position. Walker plunged into the endzone a few plays later (PAT Holmes) to make the score 10-7.
It wouldn’t take long for Highland Springs to respond. On their ensuing drive, senior running back Jordan Jackson ripped off a 48-yard touchdown run to extend the lead back out to 10 (PAT Alsheskie). When asked about the run, Jackson stated, “I knew what they were lined up in and I knew who I had to pick on because he can’t run, and he couldn’t run with me.”
Varina still had time to mount a comeback, but again, the Blue Devils were their own worst enemy. Jalin Walker had another spectacular touchdown run called back, and a few plays later, Jamareeh Jones sealed the Springers victory after intercepting Bobby Dunn.
When asked about his game-winning interception, Jones stated, “Since two years ago, I’ve put that on my back. You were there at my signing day and you heard what I had to say about it. It’s been on my back ever since. I’ve been working for this.”
Highland Springs finished the season tied for the #1 seed with Hermitage. They won the coin flip and will host #4 seed Prince George at Varina High School on Friday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. As the #2 seed, Hermitage will host Manchester, at Hermitage High School at 7:00 p.m. Friday.
– Byron Jones