By Marvin Moore
CRANDALL – Senior quarterback Jamonte Gordon-West threw four touchdown passes, and junior running back Chris Abron ran for two scores and tossed another one to lead the Crandall Pirates to a wild 51-36 win over the Jacksonville Indians Friday night at Pirate Stadium.
The Pirates (1-0) opened the scoring on their second possession with a nine-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with Gordon-West finding junior Jai Turner across the middle for a 15-yard touchdown. The talented signal-caller converted the two-point conversion with a nifty run.
The hometown squad was back in business six plays later after junior Samuel Omosigho recovered a blocked punt at the Indians 25-yard line. Abron capped the four-play scoring drive with a 10-yard run, and the Pirates pushed the lead to 16-0 after Gordon-West connected with junior receiver Luke Moffit on the two-point conversion.
The Indians (0-1) got back into the game on the first play of the second quarter when junior quarterback Ryan McCown sprinted 17 yards for a touchdown. Junior kicker Aaron Bergara booted the point after to cut the Pirates lead to 16-7.
Crandall blocked its second punt of the game with 10 minutes left in the first half. But Jacksonville’s defense came up big on a fourth-and-six play at their own seven-yard line.
Abron raced into the end zone for an apparent touchdown after Moffitt returned a punt 32 yards to the Indians 13-yard line. However, an offensive unsportsmanlike conduct penalty voided the score. But Gordon-West hooked up with sophomore wideout Josh Smith for an 18-yard strike to make the score 23-7.
Jacksonville marched 45 yards on nine plays for their second touchdown. McCown passed 15 yards to sophomore Jermaine Taylor, and senior Isaiah Mallard found pay dirt on the two-point conversion to cut the Pirates lead to eight points.
Coach Kyle Hardin’s squad struck back quickly as Moffitt took the ensuing kickoff 64 yards with 73 seconds remaining in the first half. The speedy receiver finished off the short drive with a five-yard pass from Abron to give his team a 30-15 advantage at halftime.
The Indians made things interesting with back-to-back touchdowns to start the third quarter to reduce the Pirates lead to a lone point. But, Moffitt logged his second score of the night on a 25-yard pass from Gordon-West, and Abron added a one-yard touchdown run after Moffitt returned a punt 37 yards to increase the lead to 44-29.
The ‘Moffitt Show’ continued early in the fourth when the wideout hauled in a 58-yard touchdown pass from Gordon-West to help the Pirates clinch the season-opening victory.
Gordon-West completed 10 of 14 passes for 204 yards and four scores, while Abron led the rushing attack with 138 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns.
Moffitt caught four passes for 86 yards and three scores, and added 133 return yards.
Omosigho chipped in two catches for 61 yards, while Smith (3-38-1) and Turner (1-15-1) combined for 53 yards on four receptions and a pair of touchdowns.
The Pirates will travel to Lions Stadium next Friday to battle Kaufman. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Marvin “Merv” Moore is an award-winning sports writer who served stints as sports editor and editor-in-chief of the Bethel University student newspaper. A 1984 Seagoville High School graduate, Merv has also coached baseball in Europe and Asia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.