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J-E, Westhill notch dramatic opening wins

Eagles rally past Hannibal; Warriors edge Chittenango in OT

When Jordan-Elbridge football head coach Tim Hawkins faces the Bishop Ludden side he used to mentor as an assistant coach this Friday night, he does so flush from the satisfaction of a particularly dramatic season-opening victory.

The Eagles trailed Hannibal with less than a minute to play last Friday in front of a tense home crowd, but turned it around with one big pass play, and went on to defeat the Warriors 29-24.

It didn’t start well for J-E on defense, as it surrendered a pair of first-quarter touchdowns to Hannibal and trailed, 14-7. Quarterback Austin Barrigar accounted for the Eagles’ lone score on a two-yard scramble.

But it all turned around in the second period. Quickly getting used to the rhythms of the varsity game, J-E’s young lineup (30 of the 32 players are underclassmen) managed to outscore the Warriors 14-3 in that frame, answering a field goal with Brad McMahon’s spectacular 85-yard kick return for a touchdown, plus Barrigar’s second TD pass, 14 yards to Kyle Humberstone.

Leading 21-17 at the break, the Eagles again went quiet in the third quarter, Hannibal scrambling its way in front 24-21. But the defense allowed nothing more, as Ryan Matousek led with 11 tackles, six of them solo efforts, with Sean Ryan getting nine tackles. Zach Pangarro and Lamatt Chisholm had seven tackles apiece, with Jordan Forney (six tackles) close behind.

As the final minutes ticked down, Barrigar, who completed nine of 21 passes for 221 yards, drove his team to the Warriors’ 32. Then, with 50 seconds left, Barrigar, under duress from a trio of Hannibal pass rushers, threw deep – and found Zach Pangarro for what proved to be the winning TD.

That was just Pangarro’s second reception all night. Most of the time, Barrigar was looking for Humberstone, who had 170 yards on just five catches, an average of more than 34 yards per catch.

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