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The 10th-ranked SJCS varsity football team battled but came up short in its quest to remain unbeaten, falling 42-21 against No. 4 Southside Christian in the Region 1-2A opener for both teams at Sabre Stadium Friday night.

The Knights (5-1, 0-1) scored on their first possession, fell behind 28-7 by halftime and then played the Sabres (5-1, 1-0) even in the second half.

St. Joe’s took the opening kickoff and marched the length of the field. The big play was a 32-yard pass from Harrison Scott to Kyle Lonergan.

On third-and-six from the SCS 11-yard line, Scott rolled to his left on an option play and sped into the end zone. Matthew Hall’s point-after kick made it 7-0 with 6:39 left in the first quarter.

Southside Christian scored on its first two possessions, with Marist College recruit J.W. Hertzberg throwing a pair of touchdown passes that gave the Sabres a 14-7 advantage after one quarter.

After the Knights came within an inch of stopping SCS on fourth down inside the 5, the Sabres scored to make it 21-7. Hertzberg added a third touchdown pass that gave Southside Christian a 28-7 halftime lead.

The Sabres scored first in the third quarter before Rashad Luckey’s 25-yard touchdown run — followed by Hall’s kick — cut the margin to 35-14 midway through the period.

SCS struck 20 seconds later when Hertzberg threw his fourth touchdown pass. Luckey capped a Knights drive with his second score of the night, a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:16 left in the third quarter. Hall’s conversion made it 42-21.

St. Joe’s will return home next Friday and take on Landrum.