Jets blast Providence Grove, 41-7, in opener
Jordan-Matthews head coach Marty Scotten did not know what to expect from his young squad before the season-opening kickoff on Monday night, a game rescheduled from Friday because of a wet field.
It took three minutes and seven seconds for Scotten to get a glimpse of what was to come in this game, when Jordan-Matthews scored on its opening possession to take an 8-0 lead. The Jets controlled the entire game, and did not allow visiting Providence Grove to score until 3:45 left in the game. Jordan-Matthews, with four touchdown runs by Hunter Causey, rolled to a 41-7 victory.
This year’s game was much different from the 2012 conference matchup. Last year’s contest between the two squads, now non-conference opponents due to NCHSAA realignment, resulted in a 21-20, last-second win by Providence Grove.
"I’m surprised,” Scotten said. “We played better than I thought. I really didn’t know what we had on either side. We knew we had Hunter Causey. He played as we expected him to play, but a lot of our other guys stepped up. Overall, we played the kind of game that I was hoping we would, but I didn’t know if we had it in us. We had a few snafus, but overall it was an excellent first game.”
Causey, a senior, who last season rushed for more than 2,200 yards and 19 touchdowns, did what was expected of him on his final opening night of high school football. A 2012 All-Mid-State Conference player, Causey amassed 179 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the contest. He had 148 rushing yards, and all four scores, in the first half, and only carried the ball twice in the second half. Scotten cannot say enough good things about Causey.
“We’re a young team (only 12 seniors on the roster), but he’s our leader," Scotten said. "He is an outstanding football player. We run him because he’s the guy that gets it done in the end. Nothing he does surprises me. We can depend on him, we know he’s going to be there. We know he’s going to play well, and he did again tonight.”
The Jets' best-kept secret might be their kicking game. Daniel Estrada, a senior soccer player, was kicking the ball into, or almost to, Providence Grove’s end zone the entire night. Although it seemed the Jets were still trying to figure out who would be kicking their point after attempts, as the season wears on Estrada might become a valuable player for the Jets.
Another key contributor for the Jets was junior running back Aaron McCrimmon.
“He runs really hard and he’s made much improvement through the preseason. Hopefully, he can continue to deliver that kind of performance for us,” Scotten said.
McCrimmon scored Jordan-Matthews’ fifth and sixth touchdowns of the night, one a 16-yard run at the end of the first half, and the other a 10-yard jaunt at the 5:07 mark of the third quarter.
Junior running back Tre Jones made some good breakaway runs during the game, as well. About the midway point of the third quarter, Jones, on a sweep to the right, dashed for a 31-yard gain.
“We had some fortunate things happen to us. We did, for the most part, hold on to the ball pretty well and we didn’t have a lot of turnovers. Overall, I thought for a first game, I thought we played really well," Scotten said.
He was quick to acknowledge, “it’s still early yet. We haven’t won anything yet, but one game.”
Now, on a short week, the Jets must prepare to make the trip down Highway 421 to face county rival Chatham Central on Friday night. Scotten and his coaches will do their best to get their players ready.
“Just taking the mistakes of this first game and trying to improve in certain areas where we kinda fell short. [Tonight’s game] wasn’t perfect, so we have plenty to work on," he said.
Chatham Central is coming off a 34-12 loss to Wake Christian Academy in its opening contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.