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Blue Jays rally for win over Vinton

VINTON – St. Edmund exploded for 26 unanswered points in the second half as the Blue Jays opened the season with a 32-18 win Friday over the Vinton Lions.
“We hurt ourselves just about every way possible in the first half,” St. Ed’s head coach James Shiver said. “We had plenty of chances including a touchdown called back.
“We faced adversity and our guys stepped up in the second half.”
After forcing Vinton to punt on its first possession, the Blue Jays went on a 4-play, 62 yard drive sparked by impressive runs by Clay Miller and Peyton Marcantel.
Miller capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. The PAT failed but the Jays led 6-0 with 9:40 left in the first period.
Vinton’s Keishawn Budwine fumbled a catch on next possession and the Blue Jays recovered at the Lions’ 39.
The Jays were not able to take advantage of the turnover as St. Ed’s was stopped on fourth down at the Lions 44.
But on the very next play, Vinton’s Jordan Janice was stripped of the ball and the Jays took possession at the Lions’ 43.
After two penalties and two runs by Marcantel, St. Ed’s drive was halted when Budwine intercepted Henry Brown’s pass.
The Blue Jay defense stood tall near midfield and forced the Lions to punt.
St. Edmund again could not move the ball and after a high snap on the punt attempt, the Lions took over at the Blue Jay 24 as the game moved to the second period.
The St. Edmund defense again stopped the Lions on fourth down at the Blue Jay 14.
St. Edmund’s early offensive struggles continued when Bryson Labove snared an interception off a deflection at the Blue Jay 27 with 8:59 left before the break.
It took the Lions five plays on the short field as Drew Heinen connected with Jade Carrier for a 17-yard touchdown.
The two-point run attempt failed but the Lions tied the game 6-6.
Vinton then took its only lead of the game when Austin Benoit raced 45 yards to score on an interception return.
The two-point conversion pass attempt failed, but the Lions led 12-6 with 5:11 left in the second period.
After the kick off went out of bounds, St. Ed’s elected for a re kick.
That proved a mistake as the Lions recovered the squib kick at midfield,
In spite of a Blue Jay pass interference penalty, Vinton’s drive was halted and the Lions were forced to punt.
St. Edmund took over at its own 19 and went 44 yards and seemed poised to score..
But three straight incomplete passes stopped the drive at the Lion 37 with 1:14 left before the break.
A targeting call against the Blue Jays helped the Lions moved into St. Ed’s territory, but a sack of Heinen on the last play of the half seemed to help turn the momentum to the Jays’ favor.
After a false start by the Jays to open the third quarter, Marcantel raced 83 yards through the Lion defense for the touchdown.
Marcantel’s PAT gave the Jays a 13-12 lead with 11:44 left in the period.
After a holding call against the Lions, an interception by Easton Coleman gave the Jays the ball back at Vinton 4.
Three plays later, Miller scored on a 1-yard run.
Marcantel’s kick pushed the Jays ahead 20-12 with 10:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Vinton was forced to punt on its next possession and a personal foul quickly moved the Jays to the Lion 21.
On fourth down and 13, Miller found Will Turk open for a 24-yard touchdown catch.
The kick failed, but the Jays held a 26-12 advantage with 6:20 left in the period.
Both teams later attempted fourth down plays, but neither converted and the Jays took a 26-12 lead into the fourth quarter.
St. Edmund and Vinton exchanged punts early in the fourth quarter.
After the Jays failed to convert on a field goal attempt, the defense made another crucial play.
Vinton’s Heinen had to leave the game with leg cramps and on the next play, Marcantel intercepted Noah Gary’s pass and raced 40 yards to the end zone.
The PAT failed, but the Blue Jay led 32-12 with 5:16 left in the game.
Vinton answered with a quick 4-play drive that went 60 yards, capped by a 49-yard pass from Heinen to Jaden Carrier with 3:36 remaining in the contest.
A 10-yard run by Marcantel on fourth-and three at the Vinton 39 helped the Jays run out the clock and Shiver earned his first win as the Blue Jay head coach.
“We won as a team,” Shiver said. “It was a great victory especially to start the season.”
Marcantel finished with 163 yards on 19 carries, while Isaac Richard chipped in 72 yards on 10 carries.
Clay Miller completed 1-of-7 passes for 24 yards and added 42 yards on 14 carries.
St. Edmund (1-0) travels to Bunkie Friday.

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