Erickson's heroics lift Eagles to a wild win

EAGLE POINT — A sore-shouldered Scott Erickson had just enough oomph left in his throwing arm to toss a touchdown pass and a two-point conversion in the waning seconds of Eagle Point's nonconference football game against ninth-ranked Jefferson Friday at Eagle Stadium.

Erickson's 3-yard scoring strike to Garrett Davis pulled Eagle Point within 29-28 with 18.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. His pass to Tyler Kinert on the two-point conversion enabled the Eagles to pull out a 30-29 victory.

Eagle Point is 2-2, and Jefferson is 2-1.

Erickson led the thrilling comeback despite suffering what Eagle Point coaches feared might be a separated right (throwing) shoulder while running an option play on the next-to-last play of the final drive.

"I'm a little banged up and sore, but it comes with the job," said Erickson, who held an ice pack on his shoulder after the game. "And tonight was worth it. I've been dreaming of leading a game-winning drive like this since I was 5 years old."

Erickson was in obvious pain after getting drilled by a couple of Jefferson players at the Democrat 3-yard line on the final drive. But after a timeout, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior found Davis on a crossing pattern just past the goal line.

Then, with the game's outcome in the balance, Erickson escaped a pass rush, rolled to his right and — after what seemed like an eternity — hit Kinert in the back of the end zone for the crucial two-point conversion and a one-point Eagle Point lead.

"Our running back (Jake Ringrose) ran a wheel route and he was the primary receiver, but he wasn't open and then I got flushed from the pocket," Erickson said. "It seemed like everything went into slow motion at that point, but I kept rolling and finally saw Kinert running free."

Kinert, who snagged a pair of touchdown passes in the first half, wasn't about to drop the game-winner.

"No way," he said. "I looked it all the way into my hands."

Jefferson still had a few seconds to work with and it took possession at the Eagle Point 45 following a squib kick and 15-yard runback by Jeray Jessie. Two pass plays moved the ball to the 34, but with just 4.2 seconds left, the Democrats opted for a field goal try, and Habtuma Cardon's 51-yard attempt fell short as time expired.

After trailing 22-7 at halftime, Jefferson dominated most of the second half. A 25-yard touchdown pass from Quincy Perkins to Kalonji Paschal and subsequent two-point conversion run by Perkins gave the Democrats their first lead at 23-22 with 7:41 left in the game.

Jefferson appeared to put the game on ice when it drove 75 yards in eight plays on its next possession, capped by Marlon Miles' 36-yard touchdown run. But the Democrats failed on a two-point try, leaving them with only a 29-22 lead and still 2:14 left on the clock.

"It worked to our advantage that they scored rather quickly on that drive," Eagle Point coach Harry Hedrick said. "A couple more first downs and we would have been in big trouble as far as the clock was concerned."

The Eagles moved 65 yards in nine plays on their game-winning drive. Erickson was 5-for-6 passing, including a 22-yard strike to Davis.

Erickson finished the game 29 of 47 for 323 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Davis was his primary target, snaring 12 catches for 169 yards and the last-second touchdown.

"The entire second half was a disaster on both sides of the ball for us, but I knew we had a chance at the end because of the way we throw the ball," Hedrick said. "Erickson doesn't have the greatest arm, but he's accurate and he spreads it around.

"The most pleasing thing was the poise we showed at the end."

Eagle Point scored just 44 seconds into the game on a trick play. Erickson threw a backwards pass to Ryan Smith, who then lofted the ball forward to a wide-open Kinert, who raced 50 yards untouched to the end zone for a quick 6-0 lead.

Erickson later hit Kinert on an 11-yard scoring strike and hooked up with Smith on a 21-yard TD pass as the Eagles took a 22-7 halftime lead.

The Eagles finished the game with 373 yards passing but just 30 yards rushing, while Jefferson amassed 195 yards rushing and 176 passing.

Tremaine Channel rushed for 117 yards on just 10 carries and two touchdowns to lead the Democrats. Miles added 92 yards on 15 attempts.

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