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Generals start fast, finish with big win over Jefferson 49-26
The Grant-Jefferson rivalry is as fierce as any in Oregon prep football. After losing 21-7 last year, Grant regained the unofficial title of Northeast Portland champs with a resounding 49-26 victory Friday night at Jefferson.
'It feels great,' Generals quarterback Paris Penn said. 'They beat us last year, and we didn't really like that, so we just came out here and made a statement.
Grant (6-2) used two Jefferson turnovers in the first quarter to run up a 21-0 lead.
"(Turnovers) were huge at the beginning of the game,' Democrats coach Anthony Stoudamire said. 'You can't give a team like Grant 21 points. You just can't.'
Jefferson (4-4) fumbled the second snap of the game, giving Grant the ball on the Demos'16-yard line. The Generals took advantage of the field position with Bryant Peek Jr. running in a 6-yard TD.
On Grant's next possession, Penn threw an 11-yard TD pass to Jack Fitzpatrick-Blackmun. After L.J. Sly-Cain got into the end zone on a sweep for the 2-point conversion, Grant led 14-0.
Later in the half, Penn hit Fitzpatrick-Blackmun on a 22-yard flag route in the corner of the end zone for another six points.
'We knew that they were in man coverage and they were up close, so we could burn them over the top,' Fitzpatrick-Blackmun said.
With 1:58 remaining in the first quarter, Penn was flushed from the pocket, broke a tackle and streaked 80-yards to the end zone.
Penn also scored on a 3-yard sweep in the third quarter.
'Good blocking downfield and excellent blocking up front,' were the keys to the TD runs, Penn said.
Jefferson scored its first touchdown with 8:37 remaining in the second quarter.
With the ball on the Generals' 16, Demos quarterback Deven Jackson threw a screen to Tony Unga. The 5-10, 170-pound senior then created magic with his speed and power. Unga made the first would-be tackler miss, dodged a second defender, then a third, cut back across the field and bulldozed another defender into the end zone.
'The DB was backed up far away enough where I could separate myself from him," Unga said, "and from there on it was just all skills and just trying to do what I could do.'
Grant went into halftime up 35-6 when Penn threw an 8-yard TD yard pass to Jamarr Graves.
'They dropped down into a cover 0,' Graves said. 'Paris saw it, he made a great check out of it and we just ran the play and scored on it.'
Trailing 42-6 in the fourth quarter, Jefferson fumbled on the Grant 16. The Generals marched down the field before Sly-Cain ran in an 11-yard TD to put Grant up 49-6.
On the Demos' next possession, Unga scored his second TD of the game on a 15-yard sweep.
'(Fullback) Sam Barron made a nice block for me,' Unga said. 'I ran straight through and tried to get the touchdown.'
After Jeff ran in a touchdown to make the score 49-18, the Demos recovered an onside kick.
Unga then scored his third TD of the night on a 29-yard pass from Jackson. With the ball up for grabs in the end zone, Unga out-leaped a Grant defensive back and came down with the ball.
'I just saw the ball up in the air and it was up for grab,' Unga said. 'I tried to do the best I could to snatch it and I got it.'
After the TD, Barron took a dive into the end zone for the two-point conversion and ended the scoring.
Jefferson (4-0 in PIL 5A) will play at Madison next week to close the regular season. With the league championship locked up, Stoudamire said he hopes that the Demos can get back to their winning ways before the playoffs.
'We've got to get back on the winning side of the football,' Stoudamire said. 'We've got to get back to trying to play error-free football and just go out there and prepare for Madison like it's the playoffs. Like it's do or die.'
Grant will face Lincoln on the road next week in the annual battle of the Portland Interscholastic League's two 6A teams. Generals coach Diallo Lewis has been looking for his team to play a complete game all season. After Grant's most complete game thus far, Lewis said he wants the Generals to build on what they did right against Jefferson and continue to fine-tune their mistakes against Lincoln.
'We'll look at those things we did well, and there's always going to be opportunities to improve and get better,' Lewis said. 'We want to be our best. We'll continue to strive for that, and we'll continue to work.
"Lincoln becomes another test for us with it being a cross-town rivalry. It's an extremely important game.'