“This is no longer a game. This is a war.”
Jacksboro defensive specialist, Jared Ray said it best last Thursday night as the Eagles took on LaFollette in the 12th annual Egg Bowl.
Jacksboro’s stingy defense managed to stop a quick witted Owl offense in order to take the game, 28-8.
“He kind of summed it up there,” Eagle head coach Mike Miller said. “If we had one game that the boys wanted to be sure they won, it would be this one. That’s just kids.”
With the win, Jacksboro secures second place in the district. With that, comes a first round by in the playoffs beginning next Thursday.
However, these Eagles and Owls have to remember one thing. One day, they will all be Cougars.
“I like the rivalry,” LaFollette head coach Chris Honeycutt said. “I think it’s good for the kids. I just want to instill in them that they will be future Cougars.”
Next season, 44 eighth graders will look to don the Campbell County High uniform. As each move up, they have to put the Egg Bowl rivalry behind them and become brothers.
“Two good teams in a rivalry game,” Ray said. “We always come out here and trash talk and stuff, but in the end, in future years, we’re going to be teammates. We’ve got to keep that in mind.
“We have a strong feeling for each other. What happens on the football field, we leave it on the football field. We’re going to be teammates, and you have to look forward to that.”
For the Eagles, it was all about their passing game. Shane Bowman went 15-of-27 for 180 yards and two touchdowns and one interception against the Owls.
Bowman also added a touchdown across the ground in Jacksboro’s 205 yards of total offense.
“Everybody was talking about how big their defensive linemen are,” Bowman said. “I’m proud of my offensive linemen for standing in there and giving me time. We had a couple throws here and then, and luckily our defense held.”
Miller had other thoughts though. He said if his quarterback and receivers had been at top notch, this would have been a totally different ball game.
“If he would have been on (with his passes), we could have stuck two or three more passes on the board,” Miller said. “The quarterback was a little off his timing, or the receiver just dropped it.
“It was closer than what it looked like,” he said.
LaFollette’s gem came late. Austin Stone has been known all season for his hard hits at middle linebacker, but in the Egg Bowl, Stone became the rock the Owls could stand on.
The eighth grade brute rushed for 122 yards, most of which came in the fourth quarter as Stone had only two carries before then.
“I was waiting for this game,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this game since last year.”
Stone’s 122 yards came on only six carries. Against the Eagles, he averaged 20.3 yards per carry, as he also broke loose for a 64-yard scoring run. The Owls managed 179 yards of total offense.
“The kid runs hard, and he plays hard,” Honeycutt said of Stone. “He’s got a motor like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t know if I’ve coached a player with a better motor. Whatever I need him to do, he’ll do it.”
Jacksboro struck first with 5:31 left in the second quarter. A five-play, 56-yard drive was highlighted with Bowman going for 52 yards through the air on four passes. He connected with Josh Lay from 15 yards out to hit paydirt. The Bowman-Lay connection worked again on the two-point try, leaving the score 8-0.
With only seconds to spare, the Eagles put another score on the board. Bowman hit Lay against, this time from 9 yards out, to complete the 26-yard drive. The two-point conversion was no good, leaving the score 14-0 at the half.
Jacksboro’s opening drive in the second half saw more points go up. The 54-yard drive only took six plays, as Bowman hit Eli Cross for a 49-yard bomb to open the march. Bowman took it in from 1 yard out to make it 20-nil with 6:09 left in the third.
Stone found his gap with 2:25 left in the third. Going 64 yards for the score, he found key blocks by Peyton Webb, Tanner Boston, and Bailey Lawson for the score. Frankie Gagaris went up the middle on the two-point try for a 20-8 score.
A fumble was recovered by Lay with 4:59 left in the game. Lay went the 65 yards on the fumble return for six. Bowman connected with Cross for the extra point, leaving the score 28-8.
However, the scenario sets up perfectly as Jacksboro and LaFollette may meet again during the playoffs. That’s exactly what Honeycutt is hoping for.
“We are expecting that,” he said. “In any rivalry game, it’s going to be hard to beat a team twice.”