The Effingham football team took a long road trip to Jerseyville to take on the Jersey Community High School Panthers on Friday night.
The road trip was no waste for anyone as the game went down to the last minutes.
Effingham gained their first lead of the 2016 season early on in the first quarter with an eight play, 66 yard drive which ended with a 23 yard touchdown pass.
Jersey seemed to always have an answer though after a Hearts touchdown. The Panthers came back with their own seven play, 70 yard drive to tie the score, still in the first quarter.
The game continued to go back and forth with neither team able to pull away. Effingham never trailed in the game, but it seemed like every time they scored, Jersey came back with a quick score of their own.
That was until the score was tied at 14-14 late in the first half. Effingham used nine plays to go 72 yards drive to score with just five seconds left on the clock in the half. Effingham led 21-14 at halftime and would receive the ball to begin the second half.
Effingham used the ball to start the second half to put themselves up by two possessions for the first time in the game. It took just five plays to go 64 yards to go up by 14 early in the second half.
But again, Jersey answered quickly with just four plays and 44 yards after a long return from the Jersey return man. Effingham still led by a touchdown and received the ball.
For the first time in the game, Effingham went three and out in a possession and Jersey took advantage.
The Panthers used up just over four minutes of the clock for the longest drive of the game to equalize once again. It was a 13 play drive going 74 yards for the score right about halfway through the third quarter.
Effingham began their next possession with their worst starting field position of the game, starting at their own 18 yard line. It did not take long though when Terrence Hill can get an opening. The Hearts went 82 yards in just five plays and only used two minutes of the clock to take the 35-28 lead just before the start of the fourth quarter.
Jersey had to punt the ball away right at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Effingham fumbled on their next possession to give the ball right back.
With just under nine minutes to play and Jersey trailing by a touchdown and an extra point, the Panthers used up just 1:20 to go 69 yards on four plays to come to within one. The extra points looked effortless all game between the two kickers, but Effingham got some penetration and was able to block the extra point attempt and still led 35-34.
The Hearts turned the ball over on downs at the Jersey one yard line, but luckily it did not come back to haunt them. Jersey could not get a drive going before the final buzzer and Effingham wins their first game of the season in a one point nail biter, 35-34.
Terrence Hill ran the ball 36 times for the Hearts and gained 198 yards on the ground including the final Hearts touchdown.
Lucas Vasquez threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns, while the other QB, Landon Wolfe, threw for 120 yards and a touchdown for Effingham.
The Hearts will stay with Mississippi Valley Conference opponents next week for their first home game against Highland.
Jersey will hit the road to take on another Apollo Conference foe in Mattoon.