By ERIC CLUTTER | CORRESPONDENT
Tyler Shaffer ran for 133 yards, and Jeremy Fitzpatrick threw a pair of touchdown passes as the Jackson-Milton Bluejays registered a 21-13 non-league victory over the Windham Bombers on Friday night.
Fitzpatrick's second scoring pass of the evening, a 30-yard aerial to Thomas Gatewood with 1:18 remaining in the game, put the finishing touches on the Jays' second win of the season. Windham, meanwhile, remains winless at 0-3.
Jackson-Milton's late score, which came on a fourth-and-16 play, accounted for the only points of the second half.
Shaffer, a 180-pound senior, had only 54 yards after halftime, but he gashed the Bombers for runs of 13, 15 and 14 yards in the final quarter to allow the Jays (2-1) to hold on to a precarious one-point lead.
Despite giving up the late score on fourth down, Windham, was able to get one more possession for Parker Rickey and the offense.
Taking over at their own 35 with 1:18 to go and no timeouts left, the Bombers could not mount anything close to a threat, managing only a nine-yard completion from backup quarterback Dalton Fall on third down. That still set up a very makeable fourth-and-1 with 46 seconds left, but a false start pushed the ball back five yards, and Fall was wrestled down on the next play six yards shy of moving the chains.
Six minutes prior to the opening kickoff, a downpour hit Ed Liddle Stadium. The brief shower ended three minutes into the opening quarter, giving way to sloppy play throughout the first two quarters. The two squads combined to go 9-of-33 passing while being whistled for 13 penalties. Those numbers only got worse in the last 24 minutes, with the three quarterbacks going 16-for-50 and the number of infractions increasing to 23 (Windham 13 penalties, Jackson-Milton 10).
Still, it was an entertaining first two quarters, featuring a Rickey 70-yard touchdown run late in the first frame that came a mere 15 seconds after the Bluejays had broke on top with a Fitzpatrick 4-yard scoring pass to Gatewood.
Midway into the second stanza, Joe Burnside erased a 7-6 Windham lead with a 5-yard scoring run that capped a short 31-yard drive. A 2-point conversion run was unsuccessful, but Jackson-Milton was able to grab those two points another way.
Following a good kickoff that was enhanced by a Windham 15-yard penalty that positioned the ball inside the 2, the Bluejays swarmed Windham's Seth Moore in the end zone for a safety with 5:31 to go in the half, making the count 14-7.
Windham bounced right back with just over a minute showing in the half when Rickey hooked up with Joey Miranda for a 31-yard scoring connection. The ensuing PAT was blocked, creating Jackson-Milton's 14-13 lead at the break.
The Bombers will have to wait two weeks to try to grab their first victory of the season. They have a bye next Friday before traveling to Lutheran East for a Sept. 28 (Saturday) Northeast Athletic Conference tilt.