Purple Eagles rebound from early deficit to nip rival Mustangs on last minute touchdown

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 21 October 2022 at 10:51 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Kwame Riley (14) celebrates with Javon Jones after scoring a third quarter touchdown during the Purple Eagles dramatic come-from-behind win over archrival Medina this evening at Albion.

Rallying in dramatic fashion, Albion rebounded from an early 14-0 deficit to nip archrival Medina 26-20 with a touchdown in the final minute this evening at Albion to close out the regular season.

Javon Jones scored the game winning touchdown on a one yard run with just 49 seconds to go and quarterback Amari Jones added the two-point conversion run to erase a 20-18 deficit and earn the Purple Eagles the thrilling win avenging an equally close 30-28 loss at Medina last fall.

“The kids battled back and really showed a lot of character,” said Albion Coach David Skrip. “We executed when we had to and really played as a team.”

The victory was especially sweet for Amari Jones who was injured late in last year’s game on a play deep in Medina territory while leading an Albion drive toward a potential winning touchdown.

“This means a lot,” said Amari who completed key back-to-back passes of 16 yards to Javon Jones and 14 to Dallas Ecker down to the Medina 1 to key the winning drive. “I couldn’t finish last year’s game but we came back and avenged that loss and got Doc’s Rock back where it belongs. It feels great.”

Albion quarterback Amari Jones and Coach David Skrip receive the Doc’s Rock Trophy from Judy and Brett Decker. The trophy is awarded to the winner of the rivalry contest each year in memory of Larry “Doc” Decker who coached and taught at both schools.

Medina had jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter on touchdown runs of 2 and 17 yards by Noah Skinner and a pair of extra point kicks by Cole Callard. Skinner had runs of 12, 13 and 11 yards on the first scoring drive which also featured a 15 yard carry by quarterback Aiden Pitts.

However, Albion got back into the game by putting together a 16 play, 8 minute long scoring drive in the second quarter capped off by an 11 yard touchdown run by Javon Jones to cut the deficit to 14-6.

Amari Jones had pass completions of 10 yards to Nick Harling and 9 to Ecker and a 14 yard run on the drive which also included a key fourth down run of 9 yards by Sh’Kwe Riley for a first down.

Medina did drive deep into Albion territory just before the half but botched a 35 yard field goal attempt keep the score 14-6 at the break.

Continuing to battle back, Albion rallied into an 18-14 lead by scoring twice in the third quarter.

First, Amari Jones hooked up with Kwame Riley on a 20 yard TD pass with 8:39 to go in the quarter to pull Albion within two at 14-12. He had pass completions of 10 yards to Javon Jones and 8 to Ecker and a 14 yard run to highlight the drive.

Amari Jones then ran one yard for a touchdown with 1:33 to go in the quarter to put the Purple Eagles on top for the first time at 18-14. He had pass completions of 17 yards to Javon Jones and 16 to Harling and a 13 yard run to key the drive.

Medina though answered right back with a scoring drive capped off by a 1 yard touchdown run by Pitts with 6:12 to go in the final quarter to regain the lead for what proved to be the last time at 20-18.

That set the stage for Albion’s dramatic late scoring drive of 60 yards following a short Medina punt highlighted by back-to-back Amari Jones pass completions to Javon Jones and Ecker covering a total of 30 yards and capped off by Javon Jones’ 1 yard TD run with only 49 seconds to go.

Ecker then completed the Purple Eagles dramatic win by intercepting a Medina pass attempt three plays after the ensuing kickoff.

The win gives Albion a 69-50-5 lead in what was the 124th renewal of the rivalry which began in 1898.

In addition to Albion earning the Doc’s Rock Trophy, Albion’s Amari Jones and Medina’s Noah Cudzilo received the Jeff Evoy Memorial Sportsmanship awards.

Note – There will be more photos from the game on the Hub’s sports Facebook page.

Albion’s Javon Jones returns the second half kickoff as Liam Castricone (10) and Will Prest (23) come in to make the tackle for Medina.

Medina’s Noah Skinner dives into the endzone for his second touchdown of the first quarter. Moving in for Albion is Dallas Ecker.