AUSTIN — Last week, it was a perfectly thrown pass in the final minute that did in La Vega.
This week, it was a run that came up a yard short.
Ara Rauls III scrambled on a fourth-down play with a minute left, evading immediate pressure before finding a seam. He needed 15 yards, but he got 14 before stepping out of bounds and Austin LBJ kneeled it out to wrap up a 20-17 victory at Nelson Field.
Brian Batts threw for two scores, caught a pass for another and rushed for 121 yards on 27 carries to lead the Jaguars (2-1), who won with 228 yards of total offense thanks in large part to a 3-0 edge in the turnover battle.
La Vega (1-2) had 314 yards rushing but was only 1-for-8 for 10 yards with an interception in their second straight loss. The Pirates had the ball four times in LBJ territory with a chance to take the lead but turned it over twice, had to punt once and was stopped on Rauls’ fourth-down run.
The Pirates took a lead on a 5-yard touchdown run from Elisha Cummings, who had 114 yards on 15 carries for his third straight 100-yard game, in the second quarter. But Batts hit Edward Thompson for an 11-yard TD to give LBJ a 14-10 halftime lead, then threw a 23-yarder to Donte Bourgeouis early in the third to make it a two-score game.
Jar’Quae Walton cut into the Pirates’ deficit with a 35-yard scoring burst with 10:09 to go in the third quarter, but that was that last time either team cracked the scoreboard.
Considering they were still at the top of their game, the retirement of Mark Bell and Willie Williams during the off-season was shocking. But they’re confident their successors will continue to build on the success they’ve created.