Helena wins physical test against Jackson-Olin on homecoming

Published 11:37 pm Friday, September 23, 2022

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

HELENA – It was another thriller that went down to the wire, but the Helena Huskies felt right at home on Friday night, Sept. 23, fresh off back-to-back overtime wins.

The Huskies trailed 13-6 early in the second half, but they never panicked on homecoming night, scoring 10 unanswered the rest of the way to pull off a 16-13 victory.

Helena’s defense gave up just one score in the victory and shut the Mustangs out in the second half on the defensive side with the only touchdown coming on the opening kick off to the second half.

That defensive effort allowed the offense to gain confidence throughout and it paid off down the stretch.

Helena (5-1, 2-1) took the early with a 31-yard field goal a little more than four minutes into the game.

Jackson-Olin’s defense, however, flipped field position from there thanks to an interception shortly after and a punt downed at the 1-yard line.

Eventually, the Mustangs were able to capitalize and take the lead midway through the second quarter on a passing touchdown that made it 7-3.

Helena responded with its best drive of the half, but after getting to the 11-yard line, the Huskies were forced to settle for another field goal that cut into the deficit, but still kept them in a 7-6 hole at the half.

It looked like that might become costly when Jackson-Olin returned the opening kick to the second half to extend the lead. The Mustangs, however, did miss the 2-point conversion attempt, which kept the game at seven points with Helena now trailing 13-6.

Helena then missed a field goal on the ensuing drive, as the momentum seemed to be slipping into Jackson-Olin’s favor.

Shortly after, however, the Huskies put together one of two clutch drives in the second half when they drove down the field, including a big fourth-down conversion, and scored on a Jordan Washington touchdown run to even the score at 13-13 going to the final quarter.

The Mustangs did look to be answering on the next drive, but they were eventually forced into fourth-and-13 after getting to the 21-yard line. The fourth-down pass attempt was ultimately picked off by Kevin Pinkard, giving the Huskies the ball back at the 4-yard line midway through the final quarter.

From there, the Huskies put together their final clutch drive of the night, getting deep into Jackson-Olin territory and eventually kicking what became the game-winning field goal with 2:01 left.

The Mustangs did start the next drive at midfield with 1:49 left following a good return and personal foul penalty, but a pass was eventually picked off with 14 seconds left to cement Helena’s win.

James Lewis made three field goals for the Huskies in the win, including the game-winner late in the final quarter.

The Huskies will now travel to Briarwood for a big Class 6A, Region 3 game next week.