REHOBETH — Rehobeth’s remarkable turnaround season came to an end Friday night.
The Rebels couldn’t convert on a long, time-consuming drive on the game’s first possession and Jackson dominated the final two quarters in downing Rehobeth 29-7 in a Class 5A AHSAA first-round state playoff game at Trinity Field.
The outcome finished Rehobeth’s season at 7-3, a seven-game turnaround from last season’s 0-10 season. The seven-win difference marked the biggest turnaround in the state this season. The seven wins were the most for the Rebels since 2005’s team won 10 games.
Jackson (6-5) advanced to the second round where it will host Briarwood Christian next week.
Rehobeth nearly ate up the entire first quarter with the game’s opening drive. The Rebels, using a lot of shifting before the snap and mostly power running, marched 18 plays from their 19 to inside the 5. Sixteen of the plays were short runs, though a 26-yard Jay Trawick screen pass to Trey Turner on 3rd-and-10 was also critical.
However, on 2nd-and-3 at the 3, the Aggie defense swallowed up running back Cameron Hovey for a three-yard loss back to the 6-yard line. Hovey gained the three yards back, but on fourth down, Rehobeth tried to fake a run to the right and had Trawick throw to Hovey to the left, but it fell incomplete.
The drive took 11 minutes and 19.5 seconds off the clock, giving Jackson its first offensive series of the game with 40.5 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Aggies showed they could play the time-consuming game too on an impressive 15-play, 97-yard scoring drive that took 5:25 off the clock.
They overcame four penalties of 25 total yards on the drive with a mixture of passing (three completions for 54 yards) and running (seven plays 50 yards) before Brihstyn Bell busted up the middle on a 12-yard TD run.
Jeramie Houston’s extra point made it 7-0 with 7:05 to go in the half after one series by each team.
Rehobeth gained one first down on the ensuing series, but had to punt to Jackson, which quickly moved to the Rebel 35 behind a 38-yard run by quarterback Deyjun Hunt. However, a delay of game and two holding penalties pushed the Aggies back, eventually leading to a punt in the half’s final minute.
The Rebels, backed up at their 15, ran two rushing plays to end the half.
Rehobeth finished the half with 59 yards rushing and 35 passing off 26 plays in the half, while Jackson earned 166 yards off 18 plays.
Jackson dominated the second half to pull away, limiting Rehobeth to just 28 total yards and four first downs, while earning two turnovers and a safety. The Aggies, despite being in Rehobeth territory most of the second half, earned 216 second-half yards, including 145 in the air.
They quickly built a two-score lead on the opening possession of the second half. Taking over at its own 46 after the Rehobeth kickoff went out of bounds, the Aggies moved inside the 10 on the series’ second play, a 45-yard pass from Hunt to Jerry Leverett.
After a play gained a yard and another lost one, Hunt raced eight yards to the 1. On 4th-and-1 at the 1, Hunt went up the middle behind running back Bell for the touchdown. Houston’s extra point made it 14-0 with 9:30 left in the third.
Rehobeth turned it over to Jackson on the ensuing series with a fumble on 3rd-and-1 that the Aggies’ Jackson Glover recovered at the Rebel 15. Two plays later, Hunt found Jamaal Pritchett with a 9-yard TD pass. A try for two failed, leaving it 20-0 Jackson.
The Rebels, in their best drive of the second half, answered with a 10-play, 58-yard scoring drive to cut the margin to 20-7 late in the third quarter. Trawick completed three passes for 38 yards on the possession, including a 2-yard TD pass to Grant Peacock on 3rd-and-2 with 1:20 left in the third quarter. Cristofer Lopez added the extra point kick to cut it to 20-7.
Jackson threatened to deliver a knockout punch on the next drive, moving to the Rebel 8, but Rehobeth’s Peyton Stephens intercepted a pass in the end zone on a roll out play to the left to snuff the drive out.
However, Jackson’s flipping the field position would prove valuable for the Aggies two series later, earning a safety to increase the lead to 22-7 with 4:55 left. Backed up to the 5 after an intentional grounding, Rehobeth’s Trawick was pressured in the end zone and pushed out of the back of it by Glover.
Behind a 29-yard run by Ke’yontae Pritchett and a 23-yard pass from Hunt to Tylen Campbell, Jackson moved inside the 5 in the game’s final minute. However, the Rebel defense bowed up and stopped the Aggies on four running plays inside the 3 with 33 seconds left.
Jackson’s Leverett, though, intercepted a lob pass by Rehobeth on the Rebels’ first play and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown with 20 seconds left to make the final 29-7.