The Chapel Hill Panthers sought to destroy homecoming for the Jackson Jaguars Friday night but the Jaguars were resilient, stuck to their game plan and avoided the homecoming spoiler, winning 24-21.
Although the Jaguars sideline was filled with smiles and celebration in their first victory of the season, this was not the case in the game early on. After a fumble by the Jaguars deep in their own territory, the Panthers recovered the ball in their own endzone to lead 7-0 early.
Nothing was clicking offensively for the Jaguars in the first half. The Panthers built on their lead after scoring a rushing touchdown early in the second quarter to lead 14-0.
That ended up being the halftime deficit for the Jaguars at halftime as they needed answers to avoid dropping to 0-7 on the season.
The second half was everything the Jaguars needed and more. After going three and out on the first possession of the second half, the defense forced a turnover in Panthers territory, recovering a fumble inside the Panthers 30.
From that point on, Jaguars quarterback Raveon Moore dominated the game. He capitalized on the Panthers turnover, plowing his way into the endzone from five yards giving the Panthers their first score of the game. The two point conversion was good and the Jaguars trailed 14-8 with 6:29 to go in the third quarter.
Turnovers plagued the Panthers again, this time in the fourth quarter. The Panthers punter bobbled the punt on fourth down and recovered it deep in Panthers territory to give the Jaguars great field position.
With the Panthers defense anticipating another quarterback run from Moore, he instead fooled them with a five yard touchdown pass to receiver Jalen Sewell, tying the game at 14. Another successful two point conversion officially gave the Jaguars their first lead of the game at 16-14 with 4:55 to go in regulation.
The Panthers offense had no juice or answer for the Jaguars as they turned over on downs giving the Jaguars a chance to ice the game with less than three minutes.
Moore stepped up once again, this time rushing in from 24 yards untouched putting the game out of reach. Another successful two point conversion made the score 24-14 with 2:27 to go in the game.
A late score by the Panthers made it 24-21 with 56 seconds remaining in regulation but the Jaguars recovered the onside kick to seal the victory.
The Jaguars seek to finish the season strong as they play Grady next Friday at Grady Stadium.