Coalfield extinguishes 3A York Dragons

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Yellow Jackets continue to prove themselves early on

By Taylor Crombie

The Coalfield Yellow Jackets jumped ahead early and held a tough 3A team scoreless until the second half in their 34-20 victory over the York Institute Friday night.

Coalfield entered the game 1-0 after shutting out Wartburg 70-0 in Week 1 at home, but York was going to present a much greater challenge on the road, so head coach Keith Henry was very happy with the way the team showed up and played.

“It’s a tough place to play and that was a very physical football team we played tonight,” Coalfield head coach Keith Henry said. “I thought our young men responded really well, especially at critical times. That’s the mark of a good football team, but we must work and continue to get better.”

The Yellow Jacket offense racked up over 300 yards in the first half alone, but only had 14 points to show for it thanks to the Dragons’ defense. Coalfield ended up with great field position on its second drive of the game that ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Parker McKinney to Drake Miklas.

McKinney proved what a dual-threat he is in the second quarter and ran the ball into the end zone himself to give the Jackets the 14-0 lead headed into the second half.

“Parker is a really good athlete; he can make the plays with his arms or he can make the plays with his legs and it’s great to have him,” Henry said.

While the York Dragons scored on their first drive of the second half and quickly got the ball back after recovering a fumble on their own 19-yard line, the real adversity for Coalfield did not occur until later in the game. Coalfield’s Tyler Keathley intercepted a pass from York’s Landrick Leffew on that same drive to shift the momentum back in the Jackets’ favor. McKinney ran the ball in for his second rushing TD of the game and put Coalfield up 21-6.

York’s Josiah Heddings intercepted a pass from McKinney for a 70-yard touchdown return to start the fourth quarter. Coalfield answered with a 20-yard touchdown pass from McKinney to Lowe, but York struck again with another touchdown with three minutes remaining in the game.

Coalfield quickly widened the gap again with a 13-yard touchdown rush from Ashton Jones, but with 1:52 left on the clock, York still had time to make things interesting. Peyton McKinney prevented that from happening by intercepting a long pass from York’s Leffew to end the game.

While there were positives all over the field in Friday night’s game for the Yellow Jakctes, the team’s ability to maintain the toughness it has become known for in the face of adversity was one of the biggest standouts in Coach Henry’s eyes.

“We’ve got to keep being physical and we’ve got to have mental toughness and I think that showed tonight,” he said. “When things don’t go your way, your back’s against the wall, you have to be mentally tough as well as physically tough to overcome those situations.”

Regional play kicks off this week for Coalfield with a road game against the 1-1 Harriman Blue Devils, which Henry anticipates to be another intense matchup.

“We’ve had a lot of great battles over the years and I expect nothing less than a great one this coming Friday night.”