Jackson’s football team is hoping for a fresh start this season.
Following a disappointing season that began with state championship aspirations and ended without a postseason appearance and a 5-5 record, the Generals are starting to look like a team capable of changing their fortunes this season.
Although abbreviated by the inclement weather that forced the stoppage of the game after three quarters, Jackson emerged with a 19-14 victory Saturday night against Norland in a nondistrict contest at North Miami Stadium.
The game was halted by the referees at the start of the fourth quarter because of lightning. The conditions had been adverse for play since the midway point of the third quarter when torrential rain began falling.
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The official decision to not restart came after the field turf at the stadium became unplayable due to flooding.
Jackson (2-0) earned the victory by rule since the game had already proceeded for more than a half.
The Generals, who are in a district with reigning Class 5A state champion Plantation American Heritage and Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, shut out North Miami Beach two weeks ago before a bye week.
Norland (1-1) shut out its first opponent, MLK High, in Georgia two weeks ago before also having a bye week. The Vikings are also attempting to get their program back on track following a 3-7 season in 2013.
Before the inclement weather came Saturday, both teams made impressive plays on defense and special teams.
Jackson’s Tovias Parker returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Generals an early 7-0 lead.
Norland took its only lead late in the second quarter after Elliot Miller returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to put the Vikings in front 14-13.
But Jackson’s offense made two big plays as quarterback Desmond Phillips hooked up twice with Terrance Rutherford for touchdowns.
Phillips’ first touchdown pass spanned 11 yards and put Jackson ahead 13-7. Norland blocked the ensuing extra point.
On the final play before halftime, Phillips capped another drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Rutherford. A two-point conversion pass fell just short of the mark.
Jackson also took advantage of 10 Norland penalties that totaled 85 yards.
Both teams struggled to move the ball through most of the third quarter after the heavy rain began. Each team fumbled on consecutive plays.
Norland quarterback Rod Robinson ran for an early touchdown and threw for 51 yards.
The Vikings’ defense looked sharp again by forcing four turnovers, including interceptions by Miller and Rayshad Jackson in the first quarter.
Jackson’s secondary also made some big plays, including an interception by Kevin Lipscomb in the end zone that prevented a Norland scoring drive early in the second quarter.
Phillips led Jackson with 110 all-purpose yards.
Norland opens district play next week when it faces Homestead at North Miami Stadium on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Jackson faces arguably its toughest test of the season Friday when it plays reigning national champion Booker T. Washington at 7:30 p.m. at Traz Powell Stadium.