Good football teams usually make the most of second chances.
Costly penalties at the worst possible times paved the way for two Nacogdoches touchdowns in the first half and the Dragons made the most of the second opportunities given to them by Jacksonville in defeating the Tribe 31-0 at Tomato Bowl Friday evening.
The game was the District 16-4A opener for both clubs.
The loss spoiled a much-improved defensive effort from the Indians who held the potent Nac offense to under 300 total yards in the game.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Dragons drew first blood when Sam Morgan hauled in an 8-yard pass from Bryce Matthews at the 11:51 mark of the second stanza.
A Jacksonville penalty kept the drive alive for the Dragons at a point where it appeared the Tribe defense would be able to keep Nac out of the end zone.
With the Dragons in front 14-0, the knock out punch came with no time on the clock as the first half drew to a close.
After a sack of the Nac quarterback on what appeared to be the last play of the half, Jacksonville was whistled for a penalty, which gave the Dragons a free play.
Nac's speedy Brandon Jones would then score his second touchdown of the night as he slithered through the Tribe defense from 48 yards out for a touchdown.
After the PAT from Rudy Fuentes, Nac took a 21-0 lead into intermission.
To make matters worse, the Tribe lost three starters in the first half due to injury.
Center Justin Stewart and offensive lineman Davieon McGowan were lost as was receiver Cash Cleaver who collided with a Dragon defender while going for the ball near the goal line with 3:45 to go in the first half.
The horrific collision caused a stoppage in play for several minutes as Cleaver lay motionless in the end zone.
He was eventually carted off the field on a stretcher. According to a late report from a local hospital Cleaver had the use of all of his extremities.
Tribe quarterback Carter McCown went down midway of the second half, with back-up Trent Sansom forced to finish the game under center.
Offensively, Jacksonville struggled to get any traction.
Braylon Parish led the Tribe in rushing with 13 carries for 67 yards. Datavion Thacker carried six times for 25 yards.
Ronnie Roberts and BrandonJones led the Dragons in rushing, picking up 49 and 48 yards,respectively.
La'Tavion Forest added 32 yards on seven carries.
The Indians picked up 162 total yards with 91 of that coming on the ground.
Nacogdoches 0 0 0 0 — 0
Jacksonville 0 21 3 7 — 31
N-Sam Morgan 8 pass from Bryce Matthews (Rudy Fuentes kick), 11:51
N-Brandon Jones 80 punt return (Fuentes kick), 5:51
N-Jones 48 run (Fuentes kick), 0:00
N-Fuentes 30 field goal, 4:07
N-La'Tavion Forest 10 run (Fuentes kick), 9:35