Despite leading by two touchdowns in the first half, Madison Southern dropped its second road game of the season in a high-scoring affair against East Jessamine on Friday.
The Eagles fell to the Jaguars, 49-35, in Nicholasville.
After a strong first half, the Eagles (3-4) started to falter in the third quarter as the No. 1 rushing team in 5A football turned the tide.
Turnovers proved costly for the Eagles as the Jaguars (5-2) chipped away at the lead.
In the first drive of the game, the Eagles turned it over on downs and Smith’s punt went out of bounds to set up the Jaguars on the 40-yard line.
It took less than two minutes for the Jaguars to take an early lead.
East Jessamine quickly gained ground thanks to Dylan Moore, who carried for 13 yards, but a Southern penalty helped the Jaguars move even closer.
East Jessamine quarterback Turner McHalon then hauled it in for a touchdown to put the Jaguars ahead 7-0.
On the Eagles' next drive, Tobias Storm pushed Southern down the field thanks to an amazing pass to Walt Smith for a 30-yard gain on the first play.
Two plays later, Storm found a hole in the Jaguar defense and sped through for a 35-yard touchdown run.
Baylor Willis got the extra point to tie the game up 7-7.
Southern then got the ball back at the 30-yard line after East Jessamine fumbled the kickoff return with 7:42 left in the first quarter.
AJ Jones gave the Eagles a 13-7 lead with his seventh touchdown of the season with four minutes to go in the first quarter.
Willis made it 14-7 with the extra point.
East Jessamine answered with a rushing touchdown in the second quarter and tied the game 14-14 with 10:47 to go in the first half.
The Eagles responded.
Just two plays into Southern’s next possession, Jones spun to avoid a tackle and then slipped another as he rushed for 15 yards for a touchdown to put the Eagles ahead 21-14.
The Eagles doubled down with eight minutes to go until halftime.
Storm threw a beautiful 60-yard pass to Smith who outran the defender and across the goal line to expand the Eagle lead 28-14.
That lead was short-lived, however.
East Jessamine scored with three minutes to go till halftime and then tied it up 28-28 with 16 seconds to go.
McHolan scrambled out of the pocket and looked for an open receiver, but decided to keep the ball and charged down the right sideline unencumbered to score.
After clawing back to tie the game, the Jaguars were ready to put some distance between them and the Eagles.
They did just that.
East Jessamine only gave up seven points in the second half.
Jaylen Taylor opened the second half with a huge gain on a kickoff return to put the Jaguars in excellent scoring range.
Then, two plays later, he scored a touchdown to put the Jaguars back in the lead, 35-28.
Another turnover put the ball back in East Jessamine’s hands and they capitalized with another touchdown to make it 42-28 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Storm carried for 10 yards for a touchdown to get the Eagles closer.
However, the Jaguars broke through Southern’s defense on their next drive and Valdon Miles rushed for 30 yards another touchdown with eight minutes left in regulation.
Refusing to give in, the Eagles got within striking distance in the last few minutes of the game, but turned the ball over.
East Jessamine successfully ran the clock out to prevent any chance of an Eagle comeback.
Southern will look to bounce back when they take on Woodford County at home next week.