Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 | 11:45 p.m.
A high-stakes game with 4A Northeast division implications was for the first three quarters controlled by the Legacy Longhorns on their homecoming night. But a strong Desert Pines ground game and stingy defense was enough for the Jaguars to score twice in the final quarter, earning the visitors a 15-8 win.
“Our body language wasn’t good in the first half, and I told our guys to just focus on what we need to do,” Desert Pines coach Tico Rodriguez said. “We got it together in the second half and were able to find a rhythm to pull this one out.”
Devin McGee led the three-headed Jaguar rushing attack with 67 rushing yards, including a 50-yard scamper in the fourth-quarter, and a touchdown. Jamel Brown had 12 carries — all in the second half — for 63 yards, and Cameron Wiley had 9 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown.
Tyler Williamson, who relieved starter DJ Lewis-Bealer in the second quarter, passed for 75 yards. Junior receiver Branden Thomas had two receptions for 58 yards.
Desert Pines (5-2) struggled to move the ball in the first half, accumulating only 73 yards on offense. Williamson replaced Lewis-Bealer early in the second quarter after Legacy end Gregory Fields strip-sacked the Jaguars starter, setting up the Longhorns’ opening touchdown with 9 minutes to play in second quarter. Rodriguez said Lewis-Bealer suffered a hand injury on the play, and the junior quarterback did not return. Legacy (3-5) failed to convert a two-point conversion on a fake kick.
An interception by Legacy’s Anthony Miles with one second left in the second quarter thwarted Desert Pines' bid to score in the first half. On first and goal from the 8-yard line, Miles leaped high to grab an overthrown pass intended for tight end Darnell Washington in the back of the end zone.
Just three minutes into the second half, after a Longhorn punt stuck the Jaguars inside their own 10-yard line, the Legacy defense stopped Wiley for losses on back-to-back plays for a safety to take an 8-0 lead.
Trailing 8-0, Rodriguez subbed Brown into his running back rotation, and the Jaguar offense began to click. Brown carried four times for 22 yards in his first drive, leading to a 1-yard touchdown run from McGee with just over 11 minutes to play. The Jaguars converted the 2-point conversion to tie the game at 8-8.
After a Legacy 3-and-out, a McGee carry for 50 yards followed by a 28-yard touchdown run from Wiley put Desert Pines ahead for good.
“We knew we’d have to grind in the second half,” McGee said. “Our linemen stepped up and did what they had to do.”
After surrendering 91 yards in the first half, the Desert Pines defense suffocated the Longhorn offense, allowing just 45 second-half yards and forcing two Legacy turnovers.
Despite the defensive performance, a late error almost cost the Jaguars the game. After intercepting a fourth-down heave from Legacy quarterback Evan Olaes inside the Desert Pines' 30-yard-line with just under 1 minute to play, Jaguar cornerback Darrien Stewart attempted to lateral the football to a teammate as he was being tackled. Legacy recovered the fumble, but failed to score on the next four downs.
“That was a very good, tough team,” Rodriguez said of Legacy. “But we won with our offensive line today.”
Desert Pines returns home to face Las Vegas High next week, while Legacy travels to Mojave.