Missing several starters, Stephenson kept putting up a fight in the second half. On the opening possession of the third quarter the Jags attempted a fake punt on fourth-and-two at their own 35-yard line. But Marist’s punt return team sniffed it out and tackled senior Rahim Diarrasouba short of the line to make for a first down. Six plays into the War Eagle’s ensuing drive, Hughes scored again from a yard out to make the score 50-6.
“Unfortunately we threw those picks that they returned for touchdowns,” Stephenson head coach Marcus Jelks said. “We came in decimated on defense, so we knew we would have an uphill battle trying to slow them down.”
After starting the season 5-0 and 1-0 in the region, the Jags have now lost three straight and will have to beat Hapeville Charter on Thursday in order to make the playoffs.
“I told our players that they have to forget about this game now because we’re going to have to lay it all out in a short week,” Jelks said. “But I want us to learn from this game and continue to play with heart and passion like we did.”
As for Marist, head coach Alan Chadwick is looking for his team to remain consistent.
“We’ve built an excellent culture in our program,” Chadwick said, now in his 37th season. “From the seventh graders on up. Our kids and our coaches know our standard. Our kids work hard and play hard, and for us, it’s about playing up to our standard.”