Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro defensive linemen Joe Dallas (left) and Carrel Taylor talk after the defense made a stop on Riverdale in the first quarter. Jonesboro won 31-30 in overtime in the Region 4-AAAA game at Tara Stadium.
Jonesboro overcame an early turnover and several costly penalties to escape with a 31-30 overtime victory against Riverdale Friday night at Tara Stadium to remain undefeated.
Freshman Cameron Black kicked the game-winning extra point after Cardinals quarteback Cedric Nettles connected with running back Rodney Singleton for a 12-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 30-30.
Black’s winning kick did not come without drama. His first attempt was blocked, but Riverdale was called for offside giving him a chance for redemption. He didn’t disappoint.
Riverdale scored first in overtime when junior quarterback Steve Harris connected with senior receiver Sateri Powell on a 11-yard scoring play for a 30-24 lead after the Raiders missed on a two-point conversion.
The Cardinals came into the game high on confidence from last week’s win over Creekside and wasted no time showing why they were undefeated. After both teams went three-and-out on their opening possessions, Jonesboro went back to its familiar one-two punch of senior quarterback Cedric Nettles to junior wide receiver Cameron Sutton.
Nettles’ hail-mary pass from the Cardinals’ 45-yard line was caught by Sutton to give the Jonesboro a 7-0 lead with 5:43 remaining in the opening quarter.
On Jonesboro’s next possesion, Riverdale forced Nettles to fumble the ball and returned the fumble to the Cardinals’ 32-yard line. Three plays later, Harris found senior wide receiver Daquavious Martin open in the middle of the field and Martin ran the ball in to complete the 29-yard score. The Raiders ran the ball in for the two-point conversion to give them an 8-7 lead with 2:11 left in the first quarter.
Jonesboro assembled a drive that lasted into the second quarter and found themselves at third-and-goal at Riverdale’s three-yard line. Nettles ran to the outside, attempting to leap into the end zone but came up inches short. Freshman kicker Cameron Black came up big, hitting the 23-yard field-goal to put the Cardinals up 10-7 with 8:44 remaining in the second quarter. The two teams traded possessions for the rest of the quarter, yielding no further scoring from either team.
Riverdale started the second half off and looked to be building some momentum before Jonesboro junior cornerback Taurean Ferguson intercepted Harris’ pass and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown for a 17-8 lead with 10:09 left in the third quarter.
The Raiders responded quickly, putting together a drive that spanned nearly five minutes. Riverdale had a first-and-10 at Jonesboro’s 18-yard line when Harris burst through the Cardinals’ defense to the goal line. He fumbled the ball at the goal line but sophomore wide receiver Rashad Canty recovered for the scored as the Raiders trailed 17-16.
Jonesboro’s next possession amounted to Black missing a 33-yard field-goal attempt with 3:12 remaining.
Riverdale answered with a five-minute drive of its own that ended with Cooper punching the ball in for a one-yard touchdown run. The Raiders ran the polecat formation and converted the two-point conversion to take a 24-17 lead with 9:33 remaining in the final quarter.
Jonesboro came up short on its next drive, but its defense was ready to deliver on the Raiders’ ensuing possession. Cooper and Harris drove the ball deep into Cardinal territory before Ferguson came up big once again, this time with a fumble recovery. Ferguson returned the fumble 64 yards for the touchdown to tie the game at 24 with 3:37 remaining.
Neither team was able to convert in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter and the game headed into overtime.
Riverdale pushed the ball as it had done all game but faced a fourth-and-six, but instead of opting for a field goal attempt, Harris scrambled and found senior wide receiver Sateri Powell in the end zone for the 11-yard touchdown score to take a 30-24 lead after missing on a two-point conversion.