Jackets rally: Williamstown scores 3 unanswered TDs to beat Devils

WILLIAMSTOWN – David Hastings’ 17-yard touchdown run with 2:40 to play capped a huge second half comeback as the Williamstown Yellowjackets pulled off a 21-14 victory over the Ravenswood Red Devils Friday night on homecoming at Williamstown High School.

The Jackets scored 21 unanswered points in the second half after spotting the Red Devils a 14-0 halftime lead to remain undefeated on the season.

“The key was our defense, seems like in the first half we were in so much of a hurry that we were missing things that we shouldn’t have,” said Williamstown head coach Terry Smith, in his 10th year at the helm. “We just kind of regrouped and played much better in the second half.”

The Yellowjackets surrendered just 44 second half yards to the Red Devils after Ravenswood seemed to run at will in the opening half.

Ravenswood junior running back Rhys Jelich got the Devils on the board first with a 10-yard touchdown run halfway through the first quarter.

The Devils out gained the ‘Jackets on the ground 167-to-72 in the opening half and Jelich increased the lead to 14-0 with a one-yard plunge with 8:05 to play in the first half.

The Williamstown offense was held in check by the Red Devil defense in the opening half as out of the five Yellowjacket possessions, four resulted in punts and the other a turnover as Heath Burgess intercepted a Jake Tracewell pass.

The second half didn’t start out much better for the Jackets as they were forced to punt after going three-and-out on their opening possession.

After the Williamstown defense returned the favor by stifling the ‘Devils on three plays, the Yellowjacket offense finally came to life.

After getting great field position at their own 47-yard line it took Williamstown just two plays to get on the board for the first time as Hastings rambled for 17-yards and Trace Hart broke free for a 34-yard touchdown run to trim the lead to 14-7.

“He (Hart) was hurt early in the year but I think he can really become a weapon for us,” said Smith.

Later in the third quarter it would be Ravenswood who took over in great field position at mid field but Jelich was stripped of the ball by Williamstown defensive back Hunter Neely who returned the ball all the way to the Ravenswood 37-yard line.

“If you just play hard sometimes turnovers will come your way,” said Smith, whose team forced a total of five Ravenswood turnovers in the game. “We were just hoping and luck fell our way.”

It took the Williamstown offense just six plays to capitalize on the turnover as Tracewell scored from 10-yards out on a quarterback draw and when Trace Elder converted the extra point the game was tied up at 14-14.

Both teams traded punts on their first two possessions of the final period before yet another turnover set up the winning drive for the Yellowjackets.

With the ball at their own 33-yard line the Red Devils put the ball on the ground once again and Williamstown sophomore defensive back Blake Eddy came up with the fumble recovery at the Ravenswood 34-yard line.

After a Tracewell 15-yard keeper and a two-yard run by Hart, Hastings took a pitch from Tracewell and sprinted 17-yards for what proved to be the game winning score.

Ravenswood had one last shot but after converting one first down, the Yellowjacket defense forced them to turn the ball over on downs to secure their fourth victory of the season.

Hastings paced Williamstown in rushing with 97 yards on 11 carries, while Tracewell rushed for 30 yards and passed for 47 more. Jelich led Ravenswood with 86 yards rushing on 20 carries. Smith felt fortunate to escape with a victory against what proved to be a very tough competitor.

“They (Ravenswood) played a good ball game and they’ve got some really good players,” said Smith of the Red Devils. “They’ve got some really good athletes. We may have got a little lucky but we’ll take it.”

Ravenswood slipped to 2-2 on the season with the loss and will host Ritchie County next week, while the Yellowjackets will look to increase their winning streak to five games when they travel to St. Mary’s for another big conference game.