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Jemison can’t convert late, fall at Chelsea

Chelsea Field fell almost silent Friday night as referees attempted to locate a football beneath a mound of uniformed football players late in the third quarter of the Hornets’ showdown with Jemison.

A few seconds later, the home bleachers erupted in screams, cheers and applause. Jemison had failed to convert on fourth down, just 9 yards from the Chelsea end zone.

Seventeen plays later, Chelsea wide receiver Jake Campbell caught a 19-yard pass from quarterback John Michael Lawley in the end zone shortly before Alex Levinson added the extra point, giving Chelsea a 27-21 advantage.

A few minutes later, Levinson connected on a 38-yard field goal, solidifying the Hornets’ 31-21 victory over the Jemison Panthers.

“Our kids in the second half, I think, played with more intensity,” Chelsea Head Coach Wade Waldrop said after the game. “I actually think this past week was our weakest week of work.

“We are at a critical point right now. We are two losses down in the region, and we have some ground to make up,” Waldrop added. “And we are going to have to do that with Sylacauga next week. They’re a good team.”

Chelsea improved to 2-3 with the win over now 2-3 Jemison. The Hornets next week will host region foe Sylacauga, who are third in the division with a 4-1 record.

Before Chelsea’s fourth-quarter stop, the Hornets and Panthers seemed nearly deadlocked as they traded leads every few minutes.

Chelsea scored on the first drive of the game, during an 11-play series capped off by Lawley’s 7-yard run into the end zone. Levinson added the extra point, giving his team a 7-0 advantage.

The Panthers answered on the next series when Jemison’s Javea Swindle capped off a more than 70-yard drive when he ran 9 yards for a touchdown. Patrick Sims added the extra point.

Early in the second quarter, Chelsea running back D.J. Washington powered into the end zone on a 7-yard run, capping off a 58-yard series. Levinson completed the point-after-touchdown to give Chelsea a 14-7 lead.

Jemison again answered quickly when Isa Bentley drove 1 yard into the end zone on the last score of the first half. Sims connected on the extra point, tying the game 14-14.

The Panthers took the lead for the first time in the game on the first series of the second half when Swindle sprinted 22 yards around right end to score. Jemison took the lead 21-14 when Sims added the extra point.

Chelsea answered on the next series when Lawley snuck 1 yard into the end zone. Levinson tied the game at 21-21 late in the third quarter.