WEST MIFFLIN — The Thomas Jefferson Jaguars came into their rival’s house undefeated Friday night and knew that they were going to get an all-out effort from West Mifflin, which was looking to ruin its rivals dreams.
The Jaguars had to play mistake-free football. In the first half, they did anything but, with five turnovers, but the Jaguars hung tough and showed that they have the resolve that comes with becoming an undefeated team, beating their rival, 37-6.
Thomas Jefferson fumbled on their first offensive possession. However, their defense forced a three and out, and no damage was done. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the turnovers were just starting.
On a pass that looked like the defender ran the route for the receiver, Thomas Jefferson threw an interception on their very next possession. That one did lead to West Mifflin points, as Parish Parker took a screen pass 28 yards to set up a touchdown rush.
Even down 6-0, the Jaguars were not quite done turning the football over. They were the victims of two more interceptions and a turnover on downs in their opponents’ territory. And that was just the first half.
The game was played in a steady rain and weather had a little bit to do with it, but West Mifflin was not turning the ball over nearly as often. However, unfortunately for West Mifflin, they were not capitalizing on the turnovers either. Heading into the half down just 6-0, the feeling was that Thomas Jefferson survived what could have been a disaster.
Then came the game-changing moment.
On the opening kick off of the second half, it looked as if Thomas Jefferson had once again turned the football over on a fumble. West Mifflin was sure they had recovered. However, after the officials discussed things, they determined that the ball carrier was down.
You could feel the momentum shift. For Thomas Jefferson, new life was found. They finally caught a break. For West Mifflin, the team almost knew that they had one too many chances to put Thomas Jefferson away without capitalizing.
The very next play resulted in a 56-yard touchdown run by Thomas Jefferson, and the ensuing two-point conversion turned it into an 8-6 Thomas Jefferson lead.
West Mifflin got the ball back for two plays before a fumble, and five plays later Thomas Jefferson had a two-score lead, 16-6.
Everything that went wrong for Thomas Jefferson in the first half spun right back around on West Mifflin in the second half. The difference was that Thomas Jefferson was able to capitalize on the errors, while West Mifflin did not.
Whether it be high school, college or the NFL, it is hard to go undefeated. You need a break or two to go your way, but you also need to know that when a break does go your way that you have to take advantage of it.
Thomas Jefferson showed that they were prepared to make up for their mistakes and take advantage of the chances they got. In their final test of the regular season, they showed the resolve needed of an undefeated team. It was an impressive performance and a well-deserved cap to what has been a magical season.