East Jessamine’s football season came to a close Friday night with a 31-14 loss to Wayne County at home.
Jaguar seniors did their best to extend the season on senior night — a win would have put the 2-8 Jags in the playoffs.
Seniors Hayden Tatman and Blake Hinkle accounted for both East Jessamine scores.
Tatman’s touchdown came on East’s first drive of the night. The drive covered 76 yards after the defense held on a fourth-and-21 situation. A steady run attack along with a 23-yard pass moved the ball down field for the Jags. On second-and-11 from the 16-yard line, Tatman finessed his way to pay dirt. Senior Tyler Edmondson scored on the two-point conversion to give East an 8-0 lead.
“We confused them a little bit with some of the new things we were doing,” East coach Mike Bowlin said. “... Then they kind of figured out what we were doing, and the size and strength of their team kind of took over, and once they did that, we were in trouble.”
Following the touchdown with 4:30 remaining in the first quarter, Wayne County controlled the rest of the half. The Cardinals scored 18 unanswered points to close the half and held East Jessamine to 33 total yards and one first down.
“(We talked about having to) wrap up and tackle better. We made a few adjustments into the schemes they were giving us, and offensively, we just need to block better,” Bowlin said of his halftime adjustments.
East Jessamine began the second half with a promising drive as it picked up two first downs, one of which came on a fake punt on fourth-and-3. However, East was held up at the Cards’ 34 and turned the ball over on downs.
Wayne came back with touchdowns on its next two drives to pull away 31-8 with 9:30 remaining in game.
East’s next two drives ended with turnovers on downs.
The Cardinals were threatening to pull away even further with less than four minutes remaining, but the East defense forced a fumble at the 1-yard line.
“They could have given up and gave up the easy touchdown but fought back and got a fumble,” Bowlin said.
On the next play, East gave the ball to Hinkle, who broke through the line and won a 99-yard dash to the other end zone.
The Jags recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove down to the Cards’ 15-yard line but were stood up there and gave the ball back on downs with less than a minute remaining.
“Our kids did all they could, played as hard as they could and gave me everything they had all year long,” Bowlin said. “... Tonight we just came up a little short.”
East Jessamine misses the playoffs for the first time since 2005, when the Jags went 3-7. The loss put West Jessamine in the playoffs following a hiatus in 2011. The Colts (3-7) travel to South Oldham (7-3) on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.