Jacksonville Scores in Final Seconds to Edge Pine Tree + Grab First District Win
TYLER – Jacksonville needed a win in the worst way. The Indians weren’t at all interested in an 0-3 start to district.
And despite losing its best player and one of its top two running backs to injury in the first half, falling behind by 16 points early in the third quarter, and trailing again with a little more the one minute remaining, Jacksonville got its win.
Tristen Shewmake’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Joydaysion Thompson with 20 seconds to play sent Jacksonville to a thrilling 42-38 win over Pine Tree, Friday night at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
“We played like our backs were against the wall,” said Jacksonville coach Wayne Coleman. “Maybe if we had played that way in one of the other games we would have had a better outcome, but we’re just happy to get this one.”
Jacksonville (2-4, 1-2) inserted itself back into the District 9-5A Division II playoff race, while snapping a three-game winning streak for Pine Tree (4-2, 2-1).
“We’ve been in a lot of games,” Shewmake said. “Almost all of our games have been decided in the fourth quarter, and we really haven’t made the plays. This game showed us we’re that team, we’re capable of doing that.”
Jacksonville took its first lead of the night, 35-30, on a 80-yard scoring strike from Shewmake to Braelyn Riden with 7:09 remaining in the fourth.
But Pine Tree responded, regaining the lead with 1:04 to play on DJ Freeman’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Da’Von Coleman and Freeman’s ensuing two-point conversion run.
Jacksonville, void of timeouts, began its game-winning drive with a Shewmake run for 26 yards into Pine Tree territory.
“It got us across midfield, and now with his arm, we’re now in position where we can start taking shots at the end zone,” Coleman said of the first-down play.
And on third-and-15 from the 34, Thompson ran past the Pine Tree coverage, and was wide open for the game-winner.
“At some point zone coverage always turns into man,” Coleman said. “You’ve just got to run the right route to get it that way. We ran some routes there to turn their Cover 2 into man coverage.”
It was a big night for Shewmake, who passed for 296 yards and three touchdowns, while running two other scores.
“It’s his best game as a Jacksonville Indian, I’m very proud of him,” Coleman said of Shewmake.
McCuin, who is committed to TCU, went out with a toe injury late in the first quarter. Aaron Richardson, who is third on the team in rushing, left the game in the second quarter and never returned.
“We wanted Deshawn to play a little more Wildcat quarterback tonight to kinda get a running game going to keep their powerful offense off the field,” Coleman said. "Then, OK, Deshawn’s out but I still got (TJ Ratliffe and Aaron Richardson) in the backfield. I can still run a little bit of zone-read with (Shewmake) but I can’t get him hurt doing that.
“Then (when Richardson gets hurt) it’s like, ‘oh, crap. If Tristen gets hurt running zone-read or TJ gets hurt, we’re in trouble. You know what we’re gonna do, men? We’re just gonna start throwing it, we’re gonna wing it.’”
The effect of McCuin’s and Richardson’s absence was apparent in the first half, as the Indians went into halftime trailing 16-7 with just 139 yards of offense.
Pine Tree scored on its opening possession of the second half, pushing its lead to 23-7, but Jacksonville’s offense came alive. The Indians erupted for 35 points in the third and fourth quarters, and finished the night with 508 total yards.
“Deshawn McCuin, a TCU commit, probably one of the best players on our team … he’s a big part of our game plan,” Shemake said. “Going into halftime we had to adjust to not having him in there. People stepped up, made great catches, our line did amazing, and we were able to pull it out.”
Riden, a Texas Southern pledge who starts at cornerback, was pressed into a more visible role on offense Friday night. He finished with 126 yards on just three receptions, and his 40-yard touchdown catch cut Jacksonville’s deficit to 23-21 late in the third quarter.
“Braelyn Riden is a great athlete, we rep him all the time at outside receiver (in practice),” Shewmake said. “So when Deshawn went out Braelyn stepped in there and did a great job. He didn’t get frustrated with the adversity at all, and made some great plays for us.”
Chris Carpenter caught five passes for 87 yards, threw a 43-yard pass to running back TJ Ratliffe to set up a Jacksonville touchdown, and converted a fourth down with a 22-yard run on a fake punt. Ratliffe totaled 125 yards of offense.
And then Thompson came through the game-winning score.
“There were some kids that had to make some plays tonight that we hadn’t leaned on,” Coleman said. “Braelyn Riden and Joydaysion Thompson had kinda been letting McCuin steal the limelight, but they stepped up and made plays. But they show up every day at practice, catch just as many balls, run just as many routes as McCuin does.”
Pine Tree running back Gabe Nelson ran 31 times for 220 yards and two touchdowns, and Coleman caught six passes for 101 yards and two TD’s for Pine Tree.
Both teams are back in action next Friday night. Pine Tree plays host to Nacogdoches (3-3, 2-1), while Jacksonville travels to Marshall (4-2, 3-0).
Jacksonville 42, Pine Tree 38
At Christus TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
Pine Tree 7 9 7 15 – 38
Jacksonville 7 0 14 21 – 42
PT—Gabe Nelson 5 run (Jose Vasquez kick), 8:43.
JAC—Aaron Richardson 9 run (Jonathan Garcia kick), 1:09.
PT—Gabe Adams 8 pass from DJ Freeman (kick failed), 11:54.
PT—FG Vasquez 29, 1:58.
PT—Nelson 13 run (Vasquez kick), 10:19.
JAC—Tristen Shewmake 2 run (Garcia kick), 6:12.
JAC—Braelyn Riden 40 pass from Shewmake (Garcia kick), 3:03.
PT—Da’Von Coleman 19 pass from Freeman (Vasquez kick), 11:55.
JAC—Shewmake 1 run (Garcia kick), 9:58.
JAC—Riden 80 pass from Shewmake (Shewmake run), 7:09.
PT—Coleman 11 pass from Freeman (Freeman run), 1:04.
JAC—Joydaysion Thompson 34 pass from (Garcia kick), :20.
First Downs 20 20
Total Yards 375 508
Rushes-Yards 44-246 33-172
Passing Yards 129 336
Comp.-Att.-Int. 10-25-1 14-29-1
Punts-Avg. 6-31.3 5-24.6
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 8-60 11-95
RUSHING—Pine Tree, Gabe Nelson 31-220, JJ Sparkman 1-11, DJ Freeman 9-7, Jayden Smith 1-4, Keshon Williams 1-3, Da’Von Coleman 1-1. Jacksonville, TJ Ratliffe 15-62, Tristen Shewmake 8-34, Chris Carpenter 3-29, Deshawn McCuin 2-27, Aaron Richardson 5-20.
PASSING—Pine Tree, Freeman 10-25-1—129. Jacksonville, Shewmake 13-28-1—336, Carpenter 1-1-0—43.
RECEIVING—Pine Tree, Coleman 6-101, Sparkman 2-20, Adams 1-8, Nelson 1-0. Jacksonville, Carpenter 5-87, Braelyn Riden 3-126, Ratliffe 3-63, Joydaysion Thompson 2-47, Jaylon Freeney 1-13.