In the span of just under 12 minutes, Little scored on runs of 68, 5 and 28 yards to give the Golden Eagles (1-1, 1-0) their all-important first region win, 36-26 over Locust Fork.
“I was just following my blocks,” said Little. “We were down and I knew I had to put the team on my back. I knew I had to carry it to the end zone every play. I wasn’t going to go down on just one tackle.”
Little also scored a touchdown in the first half from 70 yards out and ended up with 311 yards on 23 carries for four touchdowns. The Eagles netted 370 yards on the ground.
While Little was strong, the Hornets came at the Eagles with a great running game of their own. Tate Dyar rushed for 124 yards on 18 carries.
The Hornets scored first as Estes guided his team down the field after an interception by Lavontae LaCount was fumbled and Locust Fork got the ball on the Eagles’ 25-yard line.
Estes kept it himself on two consecutive plays for the touchdown.
The Golden Eagles came right back. From their own 30-yard line, Little hit the middle of the line then broke outside and showing off his speed, racing 70 yards.
With the score knotted up at 7, Eagle quarterback Forrest Pearson showed that the Eagles are multi-facetted this year as he threw his second long bomb in as many games for a touchdown. Pearson hit Warren Stephens in stride racing down the sidelines for an 82-yard score, putting the Eagles up by 6. The two connected last week on a 75-yard pass.
Estes scored again for the Hornets putting his team up 14-13. The ball was just bouncing right for Locust Fork in the first half as a field goal attempt from 37 yards out hit the side bar and bounced straight down, going over the bar for three points and a 17-13 halftime lead.
“The first half we started out playing pretty good on both sides of the ball,” said Jacksonville head coach Roland Houston, “then we had a lull.
“We made a lot of mistakes from the start of the second quarter to halftime. We made every mistake that you could probably make but we were still in the game.”
The Hornets tacked on two more in the third quarter when the Eagles sent the ball over the head of punter Brock Sanderson and out of the end zone.
Estes connected on a 30-yard pass to Josh Biles and the Eagles were down 26-13.
Enter Little, who breathed life not only into the Eagle offense but the Eagle defense. He gave credit to his offensive line.
The Eagles caught Estes in the fourth quarter in the end zone for a safety, before Jacolby Heard intercepted a pass to end all thoughts of a comeback by the Hornets.
“Our guys kept their composure at the end of the third quarter. I’m very proud of them,” Houston said.