Sep. 17—LONGVIEW — In a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated, Jacksonville strolled into Pine Tree Pirate Stadium on Friday night and handed the Pirates a 31-21 defeat on what was Homecoming 2022 in Pirateland.
The win was most timely for the Tribe (1-3), who will head back home with some positive traction as they get ready to take on Athens in the district opener next week. Athens lost for the second week in-a-row, falling 35-21 to Kaufman on Friday.
The win was the Indians' first of the season and the first for Tribe head coach Jason Holman.
Trailing 7-3 with just over eight minutes to play in the first half, the Indians took control of the situation by scoring twice in a 39-second span that caught the Pirates off guard.
With 6:36 to play in the first half Jayden Boyd rambled in on an 8-yard run that put the Indians in front 10-7 following Jesus Nunez' point after touchdown. Jacksonville never relinquished that advantage.
On the second play of Pine Tree's ensuing drive, Devin McCuin picked off the Pine Tree quarterback and scored from 32 yards out, giving him a pick six. Nunez tacked on the PAT and the Indian lead swelled to 17-7.
The Pirates (0-4) drove the ball all the way down to the Jacksonville 32-yard line on its first possession following the McCuin touchdown. The Bucs decided to go for a first down on a fourth-and-5 and the Tribe's Dakota Martinez came up with a huge quarterback sack that resulted in a 7-yard loss for the home team and gave the Indians the ball at the Pirate 39.
Neither squad were able to add points for the remainder of the half.
Jacksonville outscored Pine Tree 14-0 in the third stanza as the Indians moved ahead 31-7 with 4:05 left in the third following a Ryan McCown to Devin McCuin touchdown pass that covered 58 yards.
The Indians' first score of the final half came with 8:09 to go in the period and was the result of a 4-yard bull run by Boyd. His touchdown capped off and 8-play march that covered 69 yards.
Later in the third frame Boyd went down with a left-knee injury. He didn't return, and at the end of the game left the field on crutches with his knee heavily iced.
Pine Tree had success with the deep ball in the final quarter, with Jonathan Fuller hauling in a 56-yard scoring strike from Matt Cates for the Pirates' final points that came with 3:01 left in the contest.
Pine Tree's first touchdown of the fourth quarter was set up by a 50-yard pass reception by Dakylan Johnson from Cates.
Jacksonville got on the board first when Nunez drilled a 30-yard field goal to end the opening drive of the evening.
The Indians started that march on their own 12-yard line. A 23-yard pass reception by Jwaylon Kennedy and a 17-yard pass to McCuin from McCown set up the field goal.
Prior to Friday, Jacksonville's last victory over the Bucs came in the 2018 season.
Pine Tree will launch district play next week by taking on the Mavericks in Marshall.