Lions break Homecoming win drought

Julian Albright, Sports Editor

St. Louis weather is unpredictable, but not as unpredictable as what took place for U. City football on the morning of Oct. 14.

The past few days in St. Louis had been chilly and cloudy, with some rain. However, the weather took a turn Saturday morning. The temperature reached the mid 80’s and the sun shone bright. The U. City football team also changed course. The team that had been victorious only once during their last two seasons claimed a close 15-14 win against Jennings’ Warriors during their homecoming contest.

The game started promising, beginning with a long 60-yard kick-off return for the Lions by Jason Knight, senior. Despite a good opening return, the Lions were unable to produce points on the drive. They ended up having to punt to Jennings who scored almost immediately after getting the ball. Unable to convert for two points, the score remained 6-0 Jennings.

Later in the first quarter, Knight again made a huge run, this time for a touchdown to tie the game at 6-6. Unlike Jennings, the Lions were able to convert for two points thanks to a great quarterback sneak by Darion Reed, sophomore.

Jennings remained scoreless throughout the second quarter, due in part to a huge stop by the U. City defense who held the Warriors without scoring inside the 10-yard line.

“I’m always proud of my defense,” said head coach Jason Wells. “They made some key stops.”

With the Lions leading toward the end of the first half, the atmosphere in the stadium was optimistic. And with an interception by Deion Williams, senior, to end the first half, the Lions looked promising.

The halftime show only amped the spirit even more. The Golden Girls danced while the marching band played their rendition of the song “T-Shirt” by Migos.  The drumline kept the beat, and the annual alumni band performance enhanced the sense of community in U. City.

The second half was played mostly as a back and forth battle, with both teams getting stuck and ending up punting. That was until at the 5:56 mark when a Jennings wide receiver was left wide open in the end zone, making a touchdown catch, which gave Jennings their first lead in the game since the first half. After scoring the two point conversion, the score was 14-8, putting Jennings up by a touchdown.

On that same play, starting quarterback, Reed, who also plays outside linebacker, landed awkwardly on his ankle. He was down for a few seconds, but then got up and proceeded to start the next drive.

“I just stretched it out, went back [in the game], and fought through the pain,” said Reed. “I did it for U. City.”

Towards the end of the fourth quarter, things were not looking good for the Lions. However, a run to get the first down by Givion Crawford, junior, put them in good position. Immediately after, Knight ran for his second touchdown of the game.

The extra point kicked by James Simmons, senior, gave the Lions a 15-14 lead.

The Warriors could not do much after that, and with an interception by Simmons under the two-minute mark, U. City ran out the clock and collected the win.

This was the last regular season home game ever for the seniors on this team. Different emotions were in the air on the field after the game, including those of Traveon Johnson, one of the team’s linemen and leaders.

“Its bittersweet,” said Johnson. “We got the win so I’m not really down, but it’s bittersweet.”