Jackson's Trey Wright, Jake Ryan pour cloudburst on Lake

BY Steve Doerschuk

 

JACKSON TWP. A drenching storm and lingering lighting delayed kickoff by an hour Friday at Fife Stadium, but the night turned clear, and about 4,000 arrived to see two competitive teams trying to make a move in the Federal League.

Then Trey Wright and Jake Ryan rained Jackson touchdowns on Lake's parade.

Wright, a 5-foot-10 senior quarterback, and Ryan, a 6-3 junior wideout, connected for three TD passes in the Polar Bears' 31-17 victory. Both teams reached the midway point of the high school football season at 3-2.

Jackson rebounded from a grinding loss at Perry to improve to 1-1 in the Federal League. Lake, which won its first three games by a combined 152-34 score before falling to Louisville, dropped its league opener.

"All of our goals are still on the table," Wright said. "Anything can happen from here."

The Polar Bears kept trying the Wright-Ryan connection, and it kept working.

"Jake's an athlete, and he can go get it," Wright said as his teammates charged by after shaking hands. "Coach (Tim) Budd tells me, throw it in the area, and he'll make a play."

Jackson got rolling with a 25-yard sideline completion from Wright to Jake Ryan. Ethan Atkins' 20-yard run on the next play set up a 6-yard touchdown pass, again from Wright to Ryan.

Jackson's defense held Lake's potent offense to 95 first-half yards.

"We played better defense than we played at Perry last week," Jackson Head Coach Tim Budd said. "That was good, because we didn't want Lake's offense on the field very long."

The Blue Streaks stalled on their first two series, but head coach Dan DeGeorge wanted a spark. A fake punt from his own 28 worked via a short snap and quick run up the middle. Moments later, though, Ryan made another play for Jackson, this time an interception on defense.

Trailing 7-0, Lake drove inside the Jackson 30 on quarterback Paul Troyer's chunk completions to Logan Fedor, Cameron Martin and Tye Hunt before Jackson's defense made another stop.

The night reached a frustrating stage for the Streaks when they blocked a punt but watched the kicker, Wright, track down the ball and run 25 yards to midfield. Then, Wright dropped a shotgun snap but found time to pick up the ball, escape the rush and unload a 28-yard TD pass, again to Ryan, in the back of the end zone.

Ryan, who entered with 27 catches for 419 yards, had four catches for 73 yards and two TDs before the band show.

The frustration went away when Hunt, a swift 5-11 senior coming off a big receiving game against Louisville, broke into the clear in front of his own bench on a 90-yard kickoff return. His touchdown cut Jackson's lead to 14-7 with five minutes left in the half.

Brice Mouton's 34-yard field goal just before halftime gave the Polar Bears a 17-7 lead.

Midway through the third quarter, Drew Boggs got another Jackson drive going with a 15-yard catch over the middle. Then, Wright fired deep down the left sideline, where Ryan made another damaging catch, covering 25 yards to the 20.

The Wright-to-Ryan combo worked for an 8-yard TD pass on the other side of the field. The Bears' lead swelled to 24-7 with 4:01 left in the third quarter.

At that point, Ryan had seven catches for 122 yards, putting his season totals at 33 catches for 541 yards. That has him on a course for one of the more prolific receiving seasons in league history.

Wright threw for 170 yards on a 13-for-19 passing performance. Adkins rushed for 157 yards on 27 carries to give the Polar Bears a balanced attack.

Chandler Kirtz's fourth-down sack stopped a drive Lake needed to get back in the game.

With Atkins' short TD run with 10 minutes left, the Bears began celebrating their sixth straight win over Lake, giving them a 16-15 lead in the series. Hunt's 56-yard catch and run for a late TD, followed by a quick field goal, made the final a bit closer.

Budd wasn't ready to say all is well with one convincing victory.

"I guess I'm too old to make any sweeping statements," Budd said. "Let's just say I hope we can build on this. Wins in the Federal League are hard to come by."

 

 

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On Twitter: @sdoerschukREP

 

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