Same old story as Thomas Jefferson rocks Elizabeth Forward
With the likes of JaQuan Davidson leading the way, it was supposed to be the year that Elizabeth Forward finally stopped the three-decade streak of futility
Apparently, Thomas Jefferson didn't get that memo.
Thomas Jefferson held Davidson to 14 total yards and used a flurry of second- and third-quarter points to cruise to a 42-0 Big Nine Conference victory over rival Elizabeth Forward at Jaguars Stadium.
It was the 21st consecutive time Thomas Jefferson (2-0, 2-0) beat neighboring Elizabeth Forward (1-1, 1-1) dating to 1990, when the Warriors beat the Jaguars, 21-6. The teams did not play in 1996 and '97.
“You never want to be the team to lose to EF,” said senior quarterback/linebacker and Michigan recruit Chase Winovich, who scored twice and collected a pair of sacks and fumble recoveries. “If we would've lost to EF? Man, I might have to transfer. ... It would be tough to take.”
Consider this about the series:
• It was the 10th time during the streak that EF was shut out, including five of the past six meetings.
• It was the 12th time in the past 13 games that TJ invoked the mercy rule.
• TJ has now outscored EF, 820-128, during the streak.
“That streak is talked about every year,” Elizabeth Forward coach Mike LeDonne said. “That dominance has been going on for quite some time.”
But the emergence of Davidson, along with others, coupled with losing to TJ by only two points last year gave EF hope.
“You know what, the God's honest truth is that I didn't know how our team would react,” LeDonne said. “This was going to be the test of all tests.”
Davidson, a 1,000-yard rusher a season ago, was held to negative-6 yards on 10 carries. EF managed only 95 total yards.
Meanwhile, Thomas Jefferson used its massive offensive line of Garrett Pahanish, Mat Nagy, Jake Guinn, Cole Costy, Jason Inks and tight end Russell Siess to grind out 209 yards on the ground, led by Austin Kemp's 175.
“We knew our size advantage was substantial,” Cherpak said. “They don't have a lot of kids on their team, and a lot go both ways. When you are getting the brunt of it, it is tough.”
EF held TJ in check for a better part of the quarter before one play turned the momentum.
On a fourth-and-5 at the 39-yard line in a scoreless game in the second quarter, EF called for Davidson to roll out to his right on a run/pass/punt option. Winovich raced in and sacked Davidson, setting TJ up with good field position.
“They did that last year, and we were ready for it, and (we) practiced it a lot,” Cherpak said.
It turned out to be a significant play in the game.
Thomas Jefferson scored 21 points on its next 10 offensive plays and all 42 of its points in the following 15 minutes to turn a close game into a rout.
“It was like an avalanche …” LeDonne said. “Our kids couldn't answer that bell.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.