Sunshine gets first win of season

Published 12:27 am Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — Sunshine (1-4, 1-3) needed every minute of the second half and two subsequent overtimes to claim its first win of the season Friday night as it outlasted John Essex (0-5, 0-5) 22-20.

“It looked like two different teams,” Sunshine head coach Jonathan Jenkins said of the disparity between his squad’s levels of play during the game. “I think we had over 100 yards in penalties in the first half.”

John Essex sophomore quarterback Antonio Bennett took the ball 41 yards for a touchdown on the opening play from scrimmage to give the Hornets the early lead. The failed conversion left JEHS with a 6-0 lead.

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Later in the first half, the Hornets padded their lead when seventh-grader Jaylon Worthy punched the ball in from five yards out. Letrell Griffin caught a Bennett pass on the conversion play to leave JEHS with the 14-0 halftime lead.

Jenkins said his team reacted positively to a halftime tongue-lashing.

“They realized it was either going to be 0-5 or 1-4,” Jenkins said. “For us, we really needed it.”

On the first possession of the third quarter, senior Rodrigus Evans cut into the Hornet lead when he scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Junior Shaun McCalpine added the two-point conversion to leave the game at 14-8.

After Tiger senior Stanley Hill recovered a fumble on the JEHS 22-yard line with less than six minutes to go in the game, senior Jermaine Hood connected with 6-foot-8-inch senior Dayton Mickens on a fourth down pass that covered 28 yards and tied the game. The failed conversion left the game knotted at 14.

“The defense really stepped up and sacked them three times,” Jenkins said of his team’s effort in the first overtime.

Bennett connected with senior Zackary Fluker on a nine-yard touchdown pass to give John Essex the 20-14 lead in the second overtime. The failed conversion left Sunshine the opportunity to win the game on the ensuing possession.

The Tigers took advantage when McCalpine scampered in from five yards out to tie the game before punching in the two-point conversion himself for the win.