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Dragons rally, ground Hawks

Jamal Anderson rushed for three touchdowns, including the game-winner with less than four minutes left, in Jefferson's 30-21 come-from-behind win over host Armwood in a non-district game Friday.

"Jamal is the best running back I've had at Jefferson," Dragons head coach Darlee Nelson said. "And he looked like it tonight. We went with him when we needed to grind it out. I'm sure he gives his offensive line a lot of credit."

The Jefferson offense dominated at the outset, building a 12-0 lead early in the second quarter, but the Hawks scored 21 unanswered points.

Jefferson tight end Keith Newman broke three tackles on a 62-yard pass from Angel Diaz, keying the Dragons' 80-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes of the third quarter. Diaz's 1-yard dive left Jefferson down 21-18.

The Hawks lost starting defensive end Joe Ralyea when the referee ejected him immediately after the Dragons' touchdown.

"It was a questionable call," Armwood head coach Sean Callahan said. "He didn't challenge the official. It was a major loss for us."

The ejection makes Ralyea ineligible for the game against Sarasota next week.

The Dragons' go-ahead drive began on their 35 midway through the fourth quarter. Anderson's second touchdown, a 3-yard run, capped the 11-play march. The Dragons led 24-21 with 3{ minutes left.

Travis DarDar extinguished the Hawks' hopes by intercepting a fourth-down pass by Ricardo Watson with 1:23 remaining. Anderson scored from 20 yards out to give Jefferson a 30-21 lead.

"It was a tough game to lose," Callahan said. "We had our chances. We lost to a good team."

Both teams are 3-2.

The Dragons took a 6-0 lead on the third play of the game, when Diaz connected with wide receiver Armand Abikoh for a 61-yard touchdown pass.

Minutes into the second quarter, Anderson rushed for his first touchdown, cutting back against the pursuing defense for a 4-yard score and a 12-0 lead for Jefferson.

Hawks running back Cody Nance ran 4 yards to close the gap to 12-6 before halftime.

Armwood opened the second half with a 63-yard scoring drive aided by three major penalties on the Jefferson defense. A 9-yard touchdown pass from Ricardo Watson to sophomore wide receiver Everett Shirley capped the drive.

The extra-point kick was botched on a bad snap, but Watson was able to bide enough time for Chris Denhoff to get open in the end zone and catch a pass for a two-point conversion and a 14-12 Armwood lead.

On the Hawks' ensuing drive, Watson teamed up again with Shirley, this time for a 44-yard touchdown pass and a 21-12 lead for Armwood.

Diaz completed 12 of 22 passes for 236 yards.

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