Glen Allen football coach Perry Jones teaches his Jaguars to always believe there's a chance to win, regardless of the clock and score.
That lesson paid dividends Oct. 22 when the Jags upended Thomas Jefferson with a last-second comeback, one of a few heart-pounding endings throughout Glen Allen's season en route to the No. 7 seed in the Region 5C playoffs.
And the cardiac Jags struck again Thursday night, scoring 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to shock No. 2 Midlothian 29-25 in the biggest first-round upset based on seeding around the Richmond area.
"We really just had to keep the kids' minds straight, because it's easy when you look up in the fourth quarter and it's 25-7, teenage kids will get down on themselves and not finish a game," Jones said.
"We've just been doing what we've been preaching all year, just trying to stay resilient and understand as long as there's time on the clock we've always got a chance so tonight kind of proved that."
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The Trojans led 25-7 early in the final period having controlled much of the game.
"Our defense stepped up big time," Jones said of what turned the game around.
"The kids kept clawing back, we got a couple turnovers in the second half that made us think 'We can actually do this.'"
Sophomore quarterback Nana Utsey, who Jones said has only been in for about 20 plays all season, came in and gave the Glen Allen offense a spark.
"His nose is still wet, he's a baby but he came in and did his thing," Jones said of Utsey.
He ran for an 8-yard TD to start the fourth-quarter comeback with 9:25 to play. Starting QB Andrew Milwit threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Ford Michelow at 5:26, and and running back Will Noel added a 17-yard rushing score with 1:23 left in the game to complete the resurgence.
Senior safety Marquis Belle had a key interception. Milwit and Michelow connected on Glen Allen's first score in the third quarter to make it 13-7 after Midlo led 13-0 at halftime.
Milwit completed 9 of 17 pass attempts for 119 yards and two touchdowns to Michelow, who caught five balls for 106 yards. Jags back Xavier Moss carried 14 times for 100 yards and a 2-point conversion. Jake Perini led Glen Allen defensively with 6 1/2 tackles, one for a loss, and Noel added six tackles, one for a loss. Josh Gooding had two tackles for losses.
Jones said Glen Allen's comeback against Teejay, in which the Jags forced overtime with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Milwit to Moss as time in regulation expired, nearly three weeks ago "set the tone" for his team's resilient mindset.
"Out of all the situations possible, that's one of the ones it seems like you can't make it happen, but that showed these guys that, I don't care if it's .01 seconds left," Jones said determinedly.
"If there's time up there, we have to believe that we can win. And if you at least have that mindset you put yourself in position to turn it to fruition."
The Trojans scored on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Cooper Meads to Zach Wirt and 1-yard runs by Wirt and Makhi Jackson. Maxx Lawton kicked a 43-yard field goal, and Avery Heleniak kicked a 38-yard field goal.
Gabriel Semidey led the way defensively with six tackles. Midlothian won nine games for the first time since 1975.