Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Little Things Lead to Big Plays as Jefferson North Races Past Jackson Heights 36-20

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Little Things Lead to Big Plays as Jefferson North Races Past Jackson Heights 36-20

Article excerpt

WINCHESTER -- Coaches love to talk about the little things being the biggest difference.

Sure enough, Friday's Class 2-1A playoff clash between Northeast Kansas League rivals Jefferson North and Jackson Heights hinged on something pretty basic. It wasn't turnovers or penalties or any of the usual areas coaches typically preach.

Nope, Jefferson North's 36-20 win over visiting Heights boiled down to a few missed tackles. Twice in the third quarter, Charger playmakers broke a handful of Cobra tackles for home-run plays and those were huge as North stayed unbeaten and moved into next Friday's quarterfinals.

"I dropped one in the first half that should have been a touchdown and that upset me a lot," said Charger senior receiver Brayden Summers, who broke open a 14-14 halftime tie with a 61-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter. "At halftime, Coach told me I was going to score and make up for it. So I did my best."

North went into halftime with a bit of momentum, holding Jackson Heights on fourth down at the Charger 20 in the closing seconds of the half. The defensive stand was a nice spark, but Summers' touchdown grab was even bigger.

After missing on a couple long passes in the opening half, Summers took a pass from Boston Lane in the flat, broke a pair of tackles and was gone up the sideline for a 61-yard score that gave the Chargers their first lead at 20-14.

On North's next possession, Ridge Robertson looked like he might get stopped short of a first down on a screen pass, but the senior back broke a pair of tackles as well and once he got to the outside, he also raced to the end zone for a 78-yard score that put North up two touchdowns.

Two big plays that just as easily could have been stopped for little or no gain.

"We talked about winning the minutes before and after the half," North coach Jeff Schneider said. "We got a fourth-down stop right before the half and we were pretty excited at halftime and then we got two plays where we got playmakers in space and they did their job. It worked out pretty well."

The offensive strikes catch the eye, but just as importantly were the defensive stops North made not only just before halftime but also once the second half began. …

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