SEBASTIAN — Junior running back Everette Jackson rushed for 143 yards and scored 3 TDs, and added a 73-yard punt return to set up another score Friday night, leading the Fort Pierce Westwood Panthers over the Sebastian River High School, 27-7.
Sebastian fell to 2-4, while Westwood improved to 3-3.Westwood Coach Waides Ashmon said it was a typical night for Jackson.
“I know he’s always going to give us at least 200 yards of offense somewhere,” said Ashmon. “My nickname for him is ‘Cap,’ because ever since he was a sophomore he’s been the captain of this team. He’s the hardest working kid in our program. He’s always first in the sprints, the last one to leave the weight room. He’s the captain of this team, and as he goes our program goes.”
The game started off as a battle of two underachieving teams with 2-3 records. After SRHS senior safety Cortez Ash blocked Alex Sierra’s 22-yard FG attempt late in the first quarter, the Sharks drove down the field and scored at the 11:14 mark in the second quarter when Niko Finnegan found the end zone from the 2-yard line. The Hunamayan Joyce PAT put SRHS up 7-0.
The teams exchanged turnovers in Shark territory, and eventually Jackson scored on a 10-yard TD run with 6:04 left in the half. Alex Sierra missed the PAT, leaving the score 7-6.
The Sharks got the ball back, but couldn’t crack the Panther defense. Punter Tom Flannery got off a great punt, driving Jackson back to around his own 20. He fielded the ball on a bounce, made two people miss, and ran by a host of Sharks defenders. Senior defensive back Javon Jones was the man to beat, as he appeared to have a touchdown-saving angle on Jackson. Jones shed a blocker and tackled Jackson at the SRHS 6. Sophomore QB Tevares Copeland found senior wide receiver Leon Shorter on a corner route two plays later for a 15-yard TD to make the score 12-7. The two-point conversion was no good.
The Panthers never trailed again, and shutout the Sharks in the second half. Jackson scored on a 10-yard run at the 8:08 mark in the third quarter, and Copeland completed a pass to senior receiver Ronnie Anderson for the two-point conversion.
Down 20-7, SRHS failed to put together a full drive. The Sharks were held to just 76 yards of total offense in the second half, and QB Wesley Wilson was responsible for all three of his team’s turnovers in the half as well.
Jackson scored the last of his three TDs with 4:15 remaining in the game, when he hit paydirt on a 4-yard run. Sierra’s PAT was good, making the score 27-7.
Sharks coach Randy Bethel recognized that his team has yet to play four quarters of good football in the same game so far this year.
“That’s my fault, and we’re going to have to find a way to correct that problem,” said Bethel. “The game was a tale of two halves. We came out in the second half, and didn’t do anything on offense and defense. “
Running Back Fred Macon was a bright spot for SRHS, running for 99 yards on 17 carries. He gained 67 of his 99 in the first half and only had 7 carries in the second half.
“We looked at a few of their game films, and they ran the ball, and ran the ball,” said Ashmon. “They caught us off guard when they came out slingn’ the ball around. I think our defense defends the pass well at times, and tonight we even played well against the run.”