JACKSON, Ohio — The Blue Devils earned some respect, just not the final outcome they desired.
The Gallia Academy football team led most of regulation, but surrendered the go-ahead score with two minutes left in the fourth as host Jackson rallied with 15 unanswered points to claim a 15-9 decision on Friday night in a Week 3 non-conference contest at Alumni Stadium in the Apple City.
The visiting Blue Devils (2-1) put up quite a fight against the Ironmen, producing more total yardage, first downs and rushing yards over the course of 48 minutes.
JHS (3-0), however, managed to hang around after falling behind 9-0 early in the second quarter, then broke through in the scoring column with 8:23 left until halftime as Nevan Yates — a transfer from Vinton County — rumbled in from 10 yards out to close the intermission deficit down to 9-7.
Both teams went scoreless in the third, then the Blue and White appeared to have the game in check with just over nine minutes left.
Facing a first-and-goal at the five, GAHS quarterback Justin McClelland scrambled down to the Jackson one. The ball, however, came loose before McClelland went down — and Jackson took over possession at its own one with 9:04 remaining.
The Red and White put together an impressive 17-play, 99-yard drive that ultimately resulted in the game-winner as Jared Icenhower — who transferred from Point Pleasant two years ago — scored on a three-yard run with 120 seconds left in regulation for a 13-9 cushion.
Icenhower followed by hitting Jaiden Spires on a successful two-point pass that gave the hosts a six-point advantage.
GAHS had one final chance to answer, but McClelland had the ball knocked loose on a late-developing pass play that resulted in Jackson taking over possession at the Gallia Academy 20 after Yates recovered the fumble.
The Ironmen have now won five straight decisions over the Blue Devils, dating back to the 2013 campaign. Gallia Academy’s last win over JHS was a 30-27 decision at Memorial Field during Week 10 of 2012.
The Blue Devils opened up a 2-0 lead at the 3:52 mark of the first quarter after recording a safety on a botched punt attempt.
The guests increased their lead to eight as McClelland scored on a nine-yard run at the 10:23 mark of the second. Andrew Toler tacked on the extra-point boot for a 9-0 edge.
GAHS claimed a 14-11 advantage in first downs and had six more rushing yards (149-143) over the course of the game. In all, the Blue Devils posted a 200-186 cushion in total yards.
Both teams committed three turnovers in the contest. JHS was flagged five times for 55 yards, while the guests were penalized six times for 64 yards.
Lane Pullins paced the Blue Devils with 70 rushing yards on 18 carries, followed by McClelland with 49 yards on 18 attempts. McClelland was also 6-of-11 passing for 51 yards.
James Armstrong led GAHS with four catches for 31 yards. Cory call had one grab for six yards and Ben Cox caught one pass for 14 yards.
Icenhower paced Jackson with 49 rushing yards on eight carries, followed by Caleb Haller with 40 yards on seven attempts. Icenhower was also 6-of-9 passing for 43 yards and one interception.
Reid Evans led the Jackson wideouts with three catches for 26 yards.
Gallia Academy opens Ohio Valley Conference play on Friday when it travels to Chesapeake for a Week 4 contest at 7 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.