Jefferson City completes comeback in second half

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 2nd Class Bill Le makes an over-the-head catch before taking it in for a touchdown.

Sports Editor, Ho’okele

Down by a score of 20-7 going into halftime, USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) dominated in the second half to defeat USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), 26-20, on Sept. 23 in an Afloat Division intramural flag football game at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The game was the season opener for Jefferson City, while William P. Lawrence suffered their first loss after opening with a win the previous week.

With the score tied at 20-20 with less than two minutes in the game, quarterback Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 3rd Class Trevor Samson took Jefferson City on a 41-yard drive for a touchdown with four seconds remaining on the clock for the win.

Samson struck pay dirt on a five-yard keeper to the end zone for the game-winning score.

“They were rushing the left side all game long,” Samson said about his run. “When they brought the rush from the right, I just saw the goal line and an opening, five yards out, I just ran it in.”

The touchdown capped off an improbable victory for Jefferson City after William P. Lawrence did as they pleased in the first half.

William P. Lawrence quarterback Fire Controlman Aegis 2nd Class Travis Holleman took the opening snap and directed the team on a 65-yard drive on just five plays to score the first touchdown of the game.

Holleman completed a 22-yard pass to Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Joshua Gordon to complete the drive and take a 7-0 lead after converting the point after touchdown.

Jefferson City responded to tie the score, when Samson ended a drive by taking off from his own 33 and running untouched into the end zone.

Then, after both teams were forced to give up the ball on downs, William P. Lawrence went back out in front on a 17-yard pass from Holleman to Electronics Technician 2nd Class Josh Hatcher for a 13-7 advantage.

William P. Lawrence got the ball back for one more drive just before halftime and used it to push the lead out to 20-7. Starting at his own 32, Holleman needed only two plays to score the team’s third touchdown of the game.

A keeper by Holleman gained nine yards and on the next play, the QB went over the top and hit Gordon for six points.

Down by two scores at halftime, Samson told his team to just settle down and keep playing hard.

“It’s our first game and everybody got the jitters,” Samson said. “Half-time, I just took them in and said calm down, get it all out and make some plays.”

Samson’s words seemed to do the trick, as Jefferson City quickly took the field in the second half and immediately marched 65 yards for a touchdown.

Facing third down from his own 36, Samson went long and found Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 2nd Class Bill Le with a scoring pass to cut the lead down to seven at 20-13.

Jefferson City’s defense, which got burned three times in the first half, stepped up and shut down William P. Lawrence in the second half.

With the defense going to work, Samson tied the score at 20-20 on a clutch 15-yard pass to Fire Control Technician 3rd Class Travon Kasprzak on fourth down. The defense held William P. Lawrence one final time, before Samson led the team to the game-winning touchdown.

“We realized they (William P. Lawrence) had a very fast and mobile quarterback,” said Jefferson City linebacker and defensive captain Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 3rd Class Solomon Jones. “Our main focus in the second half was to keep him in the pocket and put some pressure on the middle to force him to stay inside. That forced him to do things that made him uncomfortable. We went out there like we had nothing to lose.”

Samson said the win is proof that Jefferson City has what it takes to square off and battle the toughest teams in the division.

While he said that the team needs more work, the comeback win is a huge boost to Jefferson City’s hope for the rest of the season.

“This is definitely a big win—especially against a team like that,” he said. “Surface ship against a sub, it’s always a good thing to get a win against a big surface ship.”

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Category: Sports