PREP FOOTBALL: Pensacola Catholic ends Fort White's season
FORT WHITE – Fort White's run defense had been solid all season, well, that was until the Indians met Ja'kobi Jackson. Pensacola Catholic's star junior running back was electric, shaking and shedding defenders on his way to 158 rushing yards.
The Indians surrendered 35 points in the second half to the Crusaders as the tribe was unable to stop their rushing attack after halftime. Fort White never recovered on defense, falling to Pensacola Catholic 49-34 in Region 1-3A quarterfinal action Friday night.
Fort White recorded its worst defensive performance of the year by giving up 391 rushing yards to Pensacola Catholic's stable of backs. The Indians had no answer for the Crusaders as they allowed 49 points in a game for the first time since 2011.
Fort White head coach Demetric Jackson declined to comment after the loss.
Quarterback Dylan Blair completed 11 of 21 passes for 183 yards while running back Stanley Maxwell tallied 129 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. But the senior back was overshadowed by Pensacola Catholic's workhorse, Jackson, who finished with three touchdowns in his team's third consecutive win over Fort White.
"We just had a lack of focus," linebacker Kobe Archer said. "In the second quarter, we just stopped. When they got that pick-six, we just shut down defensively. The offense tried to pick us up, but the defense couldn't help out the offense."
Fort White (8-3) dropped its second straight playoff opener at home in the tough loss to Pensacola Catholic (6-5), who now advances to play Florida High in next week's regional semifinal. And the Indians' night didn't start pretty, as Blair's floater to the end zone in the first quarter was returned by Crusader Damarius McGhee for a 97-yard touchdown. Maxwell answered with his first of four scores early in the second from three yards out to knot the score. After Jackson scored his first of the night, Maxwell punched in a goal-line touchdown as time expired in the first half.
The score was tied at halftime, 14-14, but the stalemate didn't last as the Indians struggled to contain Seth Wilson, Waymond Jordan and Jackson in the second half. Pensacola Catholic's three-headed monster wore down Fort White's once stout defensive front for five rushing touchdowns after halftime. The Indians trimmed the deficit with a 49-yard touchdown pass to Rahman Paul and two more scores from Maxwell, but the comeback never materialized due to poor tackling and a critical turnover early in the fourth.
"When they got up by 21, the defense shut down," Archer added.