Eagles get first win
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 2, 2005 2:18 AM
Winless no more.
On Friday night at Branch Pope Field, Rosewood erased a 12-7 halftime deficit -- coming up with clutch plays in all facets after intermission in a 21-20 victory over Jones Senior to claim its first win of the season.
After a scoreless third quarter, the final quarter turned into a see-saw battle with the non-conference foes combining for three touchdowns in just over three minutes.
The Eagles' Zach Hardison blocked a punt early in the fourth, setting the Rosewood offense up at the Trojan 24. Five plays later, Rosewood quarterback Brantley Ellis rushed in -- keeping an option around the right side to give the Eagles a 14-12 margin after Cameron Lowe's kick.
Set up by a 66-yard kick return by Deaundra Barfield, Jones Sr. started its next drive on the Eagle 18 and regained the lead on a short plunge by Pablo Legister, who had 87 yards on 21 carries with two scores.
The Trojans (0-6) took a 20-14 lead after rushing for the two-point conversion.
Rosewood was down but not out.
After minimal gains on two rushing plays and the ball on their own 25, Ellis went to the air and found speedy wide receiver Stephen McIntyre on a slant over the middle as McIntyre out-ran the Trojan defense for a 76-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 20-20.
Lowe stepped up and drilled his third extra-point of the game -- giving the Eagles (1-4) the lead for good at 21-20.
'The split end (McIntyre) slanted, Brantley did a good job of reading it and we had good protection,' Barrow said. 'Stephen was able to get in the end zone.'
Jones went three-and-out on its next possession, while the Eagles took nearly three minutes off the clock on their next drive before turning it over on downs at the Trojan 28.
Jones got a big, 47-yard gain from Deantre McDaniel - moving the ball all the way up to the Rosewood 38 with just over one minute left. On the next play, Rosewood's Dustin Sittig picked off a pass thrown by Don Hall near the right sideline to seal the Eagles' first win of the season.
Sittig's interception finished off a solid defensive effort by the Eagle defense. Jones got its fair share of rushing yards with 231 yards on 46 carries, but all three of the Trojans' scoring drives came on short-field situations.
The Eagle defense, which was on the field for a majority of the first half, forced seven punts overall in what Barrow considered their best overall performance of the season.
'We were pleased with the whole unit. I thought tonight we put it all together, and it was their best showing,' he said. 'I'm also proud of our offense and kicking game.'
Rosewood took an early 7-0 lead as Josh Myers, who finished with 50 yards on 15 carries, finished off a seven-play drive with a 7-yard touchdown run with 5:29 left in the first.
In the second quarter, the Eagles turned it over on three-straight possessions - fumbling twice and throwing one interception in that order. The two fumbles were at or near midfield as Legister and the Trojans converted both into scores to make it 12-7 with 4:06 left in the half.
'The first half ... we had two fumbles and one interception and on top of that, both teams had some penalties,' Barrow said. 'We talked about at halftime, I thought our play was fine, but turnovers and penalties destroyed any good play we had.'
The game, especially the first half, was mired in penalties. Jones had 145 yards on 12 penalties, while Rosewood had 95 yards on 11 penalties.
Both of Ellis' completions came in the second half as he finished 2-of-7 with 107 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Hall was only 4-of-15 for 35 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Rosewood returns to action next Friday at unbeaten and state-ranked Ayden-Grifton in the Class 1-A Carolina Conference opener for both teams. The Chargers finished undefeated in league play last year, while the Eagles went 5-1 with their only loss coming to Ayden-Grifton, 35-29.
'They're getting better. We're excited about getting in the league now,' Barrow said. 'We'll continue to mature and get better as a football team.'
Notes: Myers now has four rushing touchdowns on the season, while Ellis has thrown for four and McIntyre nabbed his first of the season ... Jones averaged only 15 yards per punt with a long of just 33 ... Rosewood is 3-0 the last three years against Jones Sr. ... The Eagles are now 60-38-1 under Barrow since 1997.
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