by Mac Paquette and Jason Sirovina | sports writers
The Johnson Jaguars football team pulled off the unthinkable last Friday night against the Smithson Valley Rangers at Bobcat stadium. The Jaguars beat the Rangers 49-45 in a down to the wire finish which included an interception in Jaguar territory with under a minute to play. The Jaguars were the obvious underdogs coming into this game, but when it’s all said and done they proved everyone wrong knocking off the number one team in the city.
“We were a combination of surprised and excited, we knew we could win, but we also knew we would have to play a great game on both sides of the ball in order to beat them,” junior Brett Lacombe said.
The interception with under a minute to go was the third interception of the game for the jaguar defense, this time clinching the game, and clinching the first playoff victory in Johnson football history.
“We were able to read the quarterback pretty well, luckily we caught some breaks and were able to break on his throws and get some turnovers which helped set up our offense,” senior Elijah Lloyd said.
While the defense is credited with several big turnovers down the stretch, the offense led by Quarterback Hunter Rittiman who threw for three touchdowns, threw his last to Charles Reininger with under two minutes to play for Johnson to take the lead 49-45. They then took a seven minute drive capped off by the go ahead touchdown coming from Braedon Williams.
“It was definitely a defining drive for our offense, we were able to score late and under pressure, we weren’t sure if it would be the last score, but we did what we had to do,” sophomore Braedon Williams said.
Jaguar football is set to rematch the 10-1 Brandeis Broncos, but this time in a playoff atmosphere at Heroes Stadium. The first meeting between these two powerhouses ended in a 68-53 Bronco win in a shootout. The Broncos are twelfth in the state however numbers don’t mean anything to the Jaguars as they just knocked off the number one team in the city, Smithson Valley.
“This time against Brandeis we will have our starting safety, Fernando Cruz back so we will have everyone at their correct defensive positions, and we will be ready to play,” junior Eric Huggins said.
The weather reports have called for low temperatures dropping into the low forties and a forty percent chance of rain. These weather conditions will have an impact on both teams offensively especially in the passing game.
“We know that it will be a hard fought game and were well aware of the conditions we will be playing in, the receivers will be impacted the most because they have to adjust to catching the ball in the wet and cold weather,” senior Devlin Gilligan said
The Jaguars come into this game with a lot of momentum but know that they will have to prevent last weeks win from getting in their heads. The Jaguars will be motivated by the early loss in week two to this Bronco team to help fuel them to get the revenge they seek.
“Against Brandeis we have to be confident and keep getting better because we know that what we did against Smithson Valley was no mistake,” Huggins said.