Jemison opens season with overtime win
Shawn Poe was sure he could get into the end zone when his number was called in overtime of Jemison’s 21-15 season-opening win over Shelby County on Friday.
Kevin Nunn flipped the ball to Poe out of the backfield on third-and-goal to go from the 3-yard line, and Poe fought his way to the goal line for the win.
“I didn’t have any doubt,” Poe said as he limped off the field, recovering from the hit he took on the game-ending play left him unable to immediately celebrate with his teammates.
Poe, a senior, may not have had any doubts, but his coach, Jake Hogan, wishes he could say begin a season in more comfortable fashion. Jemison’s first game in 2013, Hogan’s first as coach, was a double-overtime win over rival Chilton County, who the Panthers will face on Aug. 28.
“They had been giving us the flats,” Hogan said about the game-winning play. “Shawn Poe had been playing his heart out for us, so I just wanted to get him the ball in space and see what happened.”
Jemison gift-wrapped for SCHS the first score of the night, as a JHS player touched a punted ball that was then recovered by the visitors at Jemison’s 6-yard line.
Auston Tolleson punched it in from the 1-yard line on third down, and Aldo Jones added the point-after.
With 9:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, Nunn threw to junior tight end Logan Ray, who shook off one tackle and then outran the defense to the end zone.
The point-after attempt sailed through the uprights, but SCHS was called offsides. Hogan saw a chance to gain an advantage and went for a 2-point conversion.
Phillip Lenoir took the snap and surged straight ahead and into the end zone for an 8-7 lead.
On Jemison’s next possession, P.J. Blue drew a pass interference call on third-and-long to keep the drive alive, and then caught a touchdown pass from Nunn, leaping over the defender on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line.
Will Lenoir added the extra point for a 15-7 lead.
The JHS defense then wilted for the first time all night, as Shelby drove down the field and scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Mason Blythe to Mack Slaughter, who used a double move to separate himself from the defender.
Tolleson took the handoff up the middle and into the end zone to tie the game at 15-all.
Shelby County was called for an illegal block on the first possession of overtime, and then a sack pushed the Wildcats back from the 10-yard line and out of scoring position.
Jemison seemed doomed to a similar fate when the Panthers were called for an illegal shift on the first play of their possession, and then Nunn was sacked.
But Nunn connected with Blue for a gain down to the 7-yard line to set up Poe’s catch and run.
“Hats off to the defense,” Hogan said. “The defense played their hearts out. The offense was slow, sputtered. We’ve got a lot to work on.”