NACOGDOCHES — Nacogdoches turned two Jacksonville turnovers in the second half into 12 points and the Dragons went on to defeat the visiting Indians, 28-18 on Friday night.
The win moved the Dragons (3-3, 2-2) into fourth place in the District 9-5A-II standings, while Jacksonville (1-6, 1-3) dropped into a three-way tie for fifth place, along with Mount Pleasant and Marshall.
Trailing 14-10 to start the second half, it didn't take long for things to go sideways for the Indians.
The Tribe had manged to move the ball all the way down to the Dragon 37-yard line during the first possession of the final half.
At that point Tribe quarterback Patrick Clater was picked off by the Dragons' Dillon Williams. Williams then jetted 67 yards to pay dirt, which increased the Nacogdoches lead to 21-10 with 9:34 left in the third period.
The offenses usually dominate whenever the Indians and Dragons get together, but on this evening, it was the respective defenses that hogged the spotlight.
The Dragon defense got a key stop on Jacksonville's ensuing possession, forcing the Tribe to turn the ball over on downs at the Dragon 28.
Jacksonville's defenders answered by forcing the Dragons to go three and out.
The Indians closed the gap to 21-18 with 1:12 left in the third quarter. That's when Clater threw a dart to Tony Pinson which resulted in a 34-yard touchdown.
Pinson had a step on his man and after a little stutter step move, which enabled him to run under the ball near the back of the end zone.
The Tribe decided to go for two and Clater was able to connect with Latrail Rivers, who was all alone in the end zone, for the two-point conversion.
Jacksonville defense did its job against Nacogdoches' next series, and after eight plays from scrimmage the Dragons were forced to punt.
On the third play of Jacksonville's subsequent possession, Clater gave up another interception. The ball was hauled in by Tyrell Gardner.
Nacogdoches needed just five plays to cover 38 yards of ground.
D'Marea Weaver caught a 17-yard scoring strike from Eddie Cross, which expanded the lead to 28-18 in favor of the home team.
Jacksonville amassed 355 total yards in the game, with 284 being threw the air.
Devin McCuin led Jacksonville in receiving by catching five passes for 161 yards and a touchdown.
His visit to the end zone came with 1:53 to go in the first period and was Jacksonville's first score of the evening.
The segment ended with the game being tied, 7-7.
Jacksonville regained the edge when Jose Solano booted a 25-yard field goal that made the score 10-7 in favor of Jacksonville with 2:26 to go in the first half.
On Nacogdoches' follow up possession, Glenn Young ran around the right side, and carried the ball in from 11 yards out which made the score 14-10 Nacogdoches at intermission.
Isaiah Mallard had an interception for the Indians.
Jacksonville will return to the Historic Tomato Bowl next Friday night when Texas High, one of only two undefeated teams left in the district, will take on the Tribe.
Other District 9-5A-II games on Friday saw Texas High steamroll Pine Tree, 44-0 and Whitehouse outlast Marshall, 30-22.
The Hallsville at Mount Pleasant game was canceled after a Hallsville player tested positive for COVID-19.