WAXAHACHIE — There are a plethora of lazy adages which could be used to describe what transpired between Waxahachie and Mansfield Summit on the football field Friday night at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium.
Truth be told, though, the Jaguars made the adjustments needed for the 42-31 win in the District 10-5A opener.
Most of those age-old sayings can be found in the first eight lines of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.”
For the Indians, the game was the best of times and then the worst. The offense saw the light before being shutout. The hope of starting district play with a win soon turned to a night of despair. Generations of Tribe faithful had everything before them….and then nothing.
Summit was the first to strike after its defense forced the Indians to punt seven plays into the ballgame. A 35-yard run for Bryce Nyumah (11-93) on second down set the stage for quarterback Brysen McKinney (9-of-19, 172 yards) to scamper in from 25 yards out two plays later for the 7-0 Jaguar lead.
After a personal foul gave the Indians a first down deep in Jaguar territory late in the first quarter, quarterback Bryse Salik (28-of-37, 435 yards) rolled to his left and found Jeffrey Alexander (4-68) along the sideline for a 17-yard completion to the Summit 8-yard line. The senior wide receiver had to reach high while contorting his body enough to keep both feet — though he needed just one — in bounds.
Salik scored from eight yards out on the next snap when he scrambled to the right pylon after his protection broke down up front.
Unfortunately, it took Mansfield Summit and Brandon Crocker all of 16 seconds to retake the lead. The senior wide receiver returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to the house to put the Jaguars back in front with 3:39 to play in the opening quarter.
One of two Waxahachie turnovers on the night then gave Summit the football on its own 39-yard line with a few ticks over two minutes remaining on the first-quarter clock.
But, behind a stiff Indian defense, the turnover turned around to benefit Waxahachie. Summit promptly turned the ball over on downs, thanks largely in part to a costly holding penalty.
Waxahachie scored two more touchdowns and let an Indian soccer player shine before the half.
Salik first found Jerreth Sterns for a short completion turned 24-yard score and then recorded a 78-yard pitch-and-catch to Tevin Wofford after a 22-yard field goal off of Raymond Kennedy’s right foot.
The second touchdown pass was the third score of the half through the air for Salik and seventh over his last six quarters.
With 2:51 to play in the first half, (2-2, 0-1) Waxahachie held a 31-14 lead over visiting (3-1, 1-0) Mansfield Summit. The Indians had outgained the Jaguars 396 yards to 143, which included 366 yards on 19-of-27 passing for Salik.
Thus begins act two of our tale.
Summit covered 75 yards in nine plays (6 runs, 3 passes) and found the end zone for the first time in over 15 minutes of game action. The touchdown came with 13 seconds to play in the first half on a 33-yard pass from Mckinney to Jorion Curry. The receiver broke a pair of tackles before outrunning the Indian defense down the Jaguar sideline.
Mansfield Summit came out of the gate running in the second half — in the literal sense, too.
The Jaguar offense ran the football 15 times for 157 yards while attempting just six passes for 71 yards in the third and fourth quarters. Between sacks and short gains, the Indians totaled 11 carries for negative-34 yards over the final two-quarters and negative-four yards rushing for the game.
Because of the running game, the Jaguars possessed the football for most of the third quarter.
Summit scored on its opening drive of the second half when Richard Chark (12-99) ran into the end zone from four yards out with 5:32 on the third-quarter clock.
Summit then held the Indian offense in check and gave the Jaguar offense a second — and final — possession in the third quarter.
The drive ended on the first play of the fourth quarter when McKinney capped the eight-play drive with a jump pass from five yards out to Nyumah. The score gave the Jaguars their first lead, 35-31, since midway through the second quarter.
With time no longer on their side and momentum clearly on the Summit sideline, Salik again tried to breathe life back into his offense. The senior signal caller found Tevin Wofford (8-171) for a short completion on the Jaguar side of the field. Wofford then broke an arm tackle for a first down to the Summit 34-yard line with just under five minutes to play and the Indians trailing by four.
Two plays later disaster struck in the form of a fumble that popped high into the air and was recovered by a Jaguar who carried the football across midfield to the Indian 49-yard line with 4:10 to play.
Nyumah capped his night and the six-play drive with a seven-yard touchdown run to pull the curtains on the Indian tragedy. The Nathan Garcia extra point came with 1:30 to play in the game and gave Summit the 42-31 lead that the Jaguars carried through the final buzzer.
It was a half to remember, it was a game to forget.
Waxahachie will look to rebound next week when the Tribe travels down US Highway 77 to neighboring (2-2, 0-1) Red Oak. The Hawks lost 49-0 to Timberview on Thursday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Billy Goodloe Stadium.