JENSEN BEACH — In a tie ball game, with less than a minute left to play, Jensen Beach decided it didn’t want to let this one slip away.
Facing third down and 15 yards to go from visiting Eau Gallie’s 30-yard-line, head coach Tim Caffey called the team’s final timeout. Senior quarterback Justin Karlsen came out of the break, took the snap and dropped back five steps, just long enough for sophomore speedster Tyrese Jackson to get a step on the Commodores’ defender. Karlsen let fly an arching pass to the west corner of the south end zone where a stretching, falling Jackson somehow made the dramatic grab, and kept the Falcons’ playoffs hopes alive.
Jensen Beach (3-3, 2-1 in District 14-6A) pulled out the 36-29 victory over foe Eau Gallie (4-3, 1-2) on the shoulders and legs of junior running back Jason Loucks. Loucks gashed the Commodores for 218 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. Jackson, the Falcons exciting big play specialist, scored on a 91-yard kickoff return, had 186 return yards on kickoffs alone, and had a 48-yard punt return for a touchdown called back on a penalty, all before making the game-winning catch.
For Eau Gallie, senior quarterback Matt Wilson was able to connect on several big plays of his own to keep the Commodores in the game. He only completed six passes, but they went for a combined 184 yards and one touchdown. He also called his own number for an 85-yard touchdown scamper to open the third quarter.
But on the Commodores’ final two possessions, the Falcons defense rose to the occasion. Wilson fumbled the snap with about a minute to play and it was recovered by Jensen Beach defensive lineman Scott Kilbride. Three plays later, Jackson scored on the Karlsen pass.
The next possession for Eau Gallie, Kilbride bottled up Wilson for another sack, forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Falcons Connor Phillips, sealing the victory.
“We had some kids go out there and lay their hearts on the line,” said Caffey. “Our teams were mirror images of each other, so I knew for a fact it was going to be a battle.”
Next up for Jensen Beach is Heritage.
TCPalm provided this report
Jensen Beach 36, Eau Gallie 29
Eau Gallie 3 11 7 8 — 29
Jensen Beach 9 14 6 7 — 36
HOW THEY SCORED
JB — Jason Loucks 23 run (Sam Oliver kick), 10:45.
JB — Safety (Eau Gallie QB Matt Wilson sacked in end zone), 9:34.
EG — Matt Stephens 40 FG, 3:36.
EG — Matt Stephens 18 FG, 10:20.
JB — Tyrese Jackson 91 kickoff return (Sam Oliver kick, 10:03.
EG — Keith Headd 58 pass from Matt Wilson (Mario Harris run), 8:33.
JB — Ryan Abel 3 run (Sam Oliver kick), 5:32.
EG — Matt Wilson 85 run (Matt Stephens kick), 11:47.
JB — Jason Loucks 3 run (kick blocked), 8:04.
EG — Jalen Shelton 2 run (Mario Harris run), 11:30.
JB — Tyrese Jackson 30 pass from Justin Karlsen (Sam Oliver kick), :30.6.
Records: Eau Gallie 4-3, Jensen Beach 3-3.