SPORTS >> Comeback not enough for Devils
Special to the Leader
MOUNTAIN HOME - The Jacksonville Red Devils put on a furious second-half rally before coming up just short in a 35-28 loss to the Mountain Home Bombers in the 6A-East Conference opener for both teams at Bomber Stadium.
Jacksonville drops to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in league play and the Red Devils travel to Jonesboro on Friday.
Mountain Home is 3-0-1 and 1-0.
Down 28-0 at the half, the Red Devils unleashed an aerial assault on the Bombers.
Quarterback Logan Perry hit Keith Mosby with a 39-yard pass, Devin Featherston with a 28-yard completion and Tyler Crook with a 12-yard scoring pass and the Red Devils were on the scoreboard just 1:47 into the second half. Price Eubank’s extra-point kick made it 28-7.
Mountain Home countered with Todd Bowman, who took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown to help the Bombers go up 35-7.
It was all Jacksonville from that point.
After three running plays, Perry connected with a wide-open John Johnson for a 69-yard touchdown play and Eubanks’ kick cut the it to 35-14 with 8:05 left in the third.
Mountain Home marched down the field and ate up most of the third-quarter clock, but Jacksonville forced a turnover on downs at its 26.
The Red Devils continued to drive with Perry hitting passes of 33 and 37 yards to help set up Mosby’s 1-yard touchdown plunge on a third-and-goal play. Eubanks’ kick cut the deficit to 14.
After a missed field goal by the Bombers, the Red Devils caught a big break on a fourth-and-12 play when Johnson hauled in a deflected pass and raced 66 yards for a touchdown to close the gap to 35-27.
On the extra-point attempt, Mountain Home’s Bryant Hancock burst through to block the kick and keep the score at 35-27.
Mountain Home came up with an onside kick recovery, but fumbled the ball just four plays later at the Jacksonville 33.
The Red Devils were poised to the complete the comeback and rode Perry’s passing to a first down at the Bomber 11. An illegal motion penalty set the Red Devils back 5 yards, but Perry hit D’Vone McClure with a 5-yard pass to get the yardage back. Mountain Home forced incompletions on second and third down, leaving Jacksonville facing fourth and 10.
Perry dropped back to pass once more, but the protection broke down and Mountain Home’s Tyler Starich sacked Perry to preserve the victory.
Jacksonville finished with 486 yards of total offense, 371 of which came in the second half. Perry completed 16 of 32 passing for 381 yards and three scores. Johnson caught two passes for 136 yards and two scores.