WILLIAMSPORT — Brandon Jackson had a senior moment on Friday.
At this point of his athletic career, that’s a good thing.
The Williamsport sophomore quarterback turned a split-second decision into a 4-yard scoring run in overtime to give the Wildcats a come-from-behind 21-15 victory over Poolesville.
It wasn’t all roses for Jackson, but he avoided the thorns. He truly grew up at the right time.
“Even after I made mistake after mistake, my teammates stayed with me,” Jackson said, wearing a schoolboy grin. “I have been working hard and stayed committed.”
After gaining the tie to force overtime, the Wildcats (2-1) won the coin toss. In four plays, they had the win.
Short runs by Theron Palmer and Alex Fridley set up a third-and-goal play at the 4. Jackson took the snap, made a quick read and pulled it down over left end, moving away from pressure, to squirt into the end zone for the winning score.
“It was a speed option,” Jackson said. “I was supposed to give the ball to Train (Fridley), but the defensive end came up. I pulled it down and ran with it. I took it from Alex, but he’s my man.”
It was a crowning moment for Jackson, who grew up while having moments of success and problems handling the Wildcats’ spread attack.
“I thought he matured a lot last week,” said Williamsport coach Randy Longnecker. “It’s difficult being a sophomore, being elevated to the varsity as a 10th-grader and making all these decisions. He’s responded well. That touchdown was such a heady call.”
Williamsport sealed the game as Tyler Wise collected his second interception, picking off Kirby Carmack in the end zone on Poolesville’s first play in OT.
It was a battle all the way around for the Wildcats, who were able to take away Poolesville’s running game but had trouble defending the pass. Williamsport held the Falcons’ speedy runners to just 22 yards but allowed 292 yards passing.
The Falcons scored on two plays — a C.J. Lee 66-yard return on the first punt of the game and a 92-yard swing pass from Carmack to Deandre Parrott in the third quarter.
The rest of the game was Williamsport grinding away to get on the scoreboard.
The Wildcats tied the game on a Palmer 5-yard run in the first and owned a 9-7 at the half when the defense swarmed Carmack in the end zone for a safety.
After Williamsport fell behind 15-9 in the third quarter, Fridley, who finished with 122 yards on 13 carries, rumbled up the middle for 30 yards for the tying score with 9:12 remaining.
“The kids could have given up early but hung in there and finished strong in overtime,” Longnecker said. “That makes me proud of them. Once we stop doing all the dumb stuff, we will be OK.”
Williamsport 21, Poolesville 15
Poolesville 7 0 8 0 0 — 15
Williamsport 7 2 0 6 6 — 21
P – C.J. Lee 66 punt return (Josh Womack kick)
W – Theron Palmer 5 run (Kyle Marshall kick)
W – Safety, Kirby Carmack tackled in end zone
P – Deandre Parrott 92 pass from Carmack (Robert Winning pass from Carmack)
W – Alex Fridley 30 run (kick blocked)
W – Brandon Jackson 4 run (kick failed)