Son’s last-second TD run gives dad win in coaching debut

Published 3:02 pm Saturday, August 19, 2023

Fairland Dragons’ quarterback Peyton Jackson (with ball) takes off running to avoid the Portsmouth West pass rush. Jackson scored with no time left to give Fairland a 32-29 win in the coaching debut of Mike Jackson, Peyton’s dad. (Photo Courtesy of Joey Shupert)

By Jim Walker

WEST PORTSMOUTH — Hey coach, Happy Father’s Day early.

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With four seconds left in the game and trailing 29-26, Fairland was facing a fourth and 5 at the Portsmouth West 15-yard.

Head coach Mike Jackson decided to roll the dice and put the ball in the hands of quarterback Peyton Jackson and wide receiver Brycen Hunt.

“I thought about (kicking a field goal). We thought about changing to our starting offensive line and kicking, but I said no. We’d had two misses (on extra points) and we just said let’s put the ball in Peyton and Brycen’s hands and let them do their thing,” said coach Jackson.

“It’s not what we drew up, but it worked.”

But West’s safety jumped Hunt’s route and Jackson scrambled to his right and raced down the sidelines into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown as the clock hit zero.

And with that play, Fairland not only got the win but gave Mike Jackson a victory in his coaching debut.

“As a coach, I was just glad to see we had some gas left to go out with some gumption and do it. And just the no quit. I ain’t going to lie. After Peyton scored, there was a dad moment. I hugged my son and enjoyed the moment he’ll remember the rest of his life,” said coach Jackson.

“You win your first game by your son scrambling on fourth down to win the game. Nobody is going to believe that. It doesn’t happen.”

Portsmouth West scored on a 5-yard run by Anthony Bishop with 1:20 to play and took a 29-26 lead.

Fairland got the ball at its own 35 and Peyton Jackson was sacked for an 18-yard loss on first down. Jackson was forced to throw the ball away on second down and then was looking to run for some yardage to make fourth down a more realistic situation.

But Jackson who has scored the winning touchdowns three straight years against West — hit Hunt on a 40-yard pass that got the Dragons in scoring range and set up the thrilling finish.

“I don’t know how to describe that last minute and 20 seconds. Fourth down and no time left and he just made the play up on his own and goes and scores,” said coach Jackson.

“It’s my first win, it’s great. Don’t get me wrong, but I’m just happy that the kids saw that we were gassed, we were tired in the fourth quarter but we still had enough in the tank to make that last drive. I’m happy for them. I’m tickled to death for our seniors and our whole team.”

After a scoreless first quarter, West scored when Mason Parker ran 71 yards for a touchdown and Jack Holbrook kicked the conversion and it was 7-0 on the first play of the second quarter.

Fairland answered with a 14-yard touchdown catch by Keegan Smith from Peyton Jackson but the kick was blocked.

The Dragons took the lead as Peyton Jackson ran one yard and Aiden Miller’s kick put the lead at 13-7.

The Senators regained the lead on a 25-yard pass from Park to Jeffrey Bishop and Holbrook’s kick made it 14-13 at the 1:31 mark.

But Fairland put together a quick drive and Quentin Cremeans scored on a 9-yard run and Miller’s kick had the lead at 20-14 with 22 seconds left.

Kam Kitts ran 5 yards for a touchdown with 3:51 left in the third quarter to put Fairland up 26-14. The conversion kicked was blocked.

West then scored on an 8-yard run by Cole Tipton on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 26-21 and Anthony Bishop went 5 yards for the go-head score with 1:20 left. Cole Tipton ran for the conversion and it was 29-26.

That set the stage for the Dragons last-second heroics.

“Earlier in the fourth quarter we were driving and got inside the 15 and got a couple of penalties that put us back. We could have put the game away right there and we didn’t do it,” said coach Jackson.

Peyton Jackson finished 18-of-32 for 200 yards and 2 touchdown with an interception. Hunt caught 7 passes for 106 yards and a TD while Jack Hayden had 6 receptions for 63 yards.

Kitts led the Fairland ground game with 85 yards on 20 carries and Cremeans added 71 on 16 tries with a score.

Parker ran 12 times for 126 yards an a score to lead the West rushing attack. Tipton added 74 yards on 16 attempts with a TD and he was 4-of-6 passing for 64 yards.

Fairland 0 20 6 6 = 32

Ports. West 0 14 7 8 = 29

Second Quarter

PW — Mason Parker 71 run (Jack Holbrook kick) 11:49

Fa — Keegan Smith 14 pass from Peyton Jackson (kick blocked) 10:42

Fa — Peyton Jackson 1 run (Aiden Miller kick) 6:37

PW — Jeffrey Bishop 25 pass from Mason Parker (Jack Holbrook kick) 1:31

Fa — Quentin Cremeans 9 run (Aiden Miller kick) 0:22

Third Quarter

Fa — Kam Kitts 5 run (kick blocked) 3:51

Fourth Quarter

PW — Cole Tipton 8 run (Jack Holbrook kick) 11:54

PW — Anthony Bishop 5 run (Cole Tipton run) 1:20

Fa — Peyton Jackson 15 run (no attempt) 0:00



First downs 20 13

Rushes-yards 44-189 39-264

Passing yards 200 89

Total yards 389 353

Time of possession 21:42 26:18


Individual Leaders

RUSHING–Fairland: Kam Kitts 20-85 TD, Quentin Cremeans 16-71 TD, Peyton Jackson 8-33 TD; Portsmouth West: Mason Parker 12-126 TD, Cole Tipton 16-74 TD, Anthony Bishop 4-43 TD, Jeffrey Bishop 6-19, Hayden Lore 1-2.

PASSING–Fairland: Peyton Jackson 18-32-1 200 2TD; Portsmouth West: Cole Tipton 4-6-0 64, Mason Parker 1-1-0 25.

RECEIVING–Fairland: Brycen Hunt 7-106 TD, Jack Hayden 6-63, Keegan Smith 1-14 TD, C.J. Graham 1-10, Quentin Cremeans 1-8, Kam Kitts 1-minus 1; Portsmouth West: Jeffrey Bishop 2-26 TD, Mason Parker 1-24, Jakob Tipton 1-14.