E.A. Sports Today

J’ville seniors score big on their night

Lady Golden Eagles overwhelm Oneonta on Senior Night; boys team get blanked

Jacksonville's Elizabeth Poe tries to protect the ball against Oneonta's Eliyah Knight. Poe scored two goals for the Lady Golden Eagles.

Jacksonville’s Elizabeth Poe tries to protect the ball against Oneonta’s Eliyah Knight. Poe scored two goals for the Lady Golden Eagles.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — The crowd on the press box side of the stadium cheered all game for the home team, but the biggest cheer of the night was saved for the final minute of the match.

Senior defender Chanel Reali scored her first goal of the season with 45 seconds left in third-ranked Jacksonville’s 7-0 rout of Oneonta Monday night. Judging from the reaction of the players on the pitch, you’d think it was a golden goal in a playoff game.

Since it was Senior Night, the Golden Eagles set out to get as many of their six seniors as possible into the scoring column. They got goals from four of them.

Virginia Poe, Ashton Wells and Quenteeria Mooney all found the back of the net, but fans and players celebrated the most when Reali broke through a wall of players at the top of the penalty area and pushed a shot into the corner of the goal.

“It was all about the seniors tonight, that’s what I told them all day,” Jacksonville coach Sam Cain said. “It was all about the seniors having a good time out there and contributing however they can, doing whatever they needed to help the team.

“(The players) took it upon themselves to try to get the seniors some goals and that was OK with me because they were pretty much doing what they felt they wanted to do at that point.”

Seniors scored four of the Lady Golden Eagles’ final five goals. In the last 20 minutes, the objective became “get Chanel the ball” and the diminutive senior put several shots on goal before she finally scored.

“The great thing about it is that was what they were trying to accomplish, so they finally accomplished what they were trying to accomplish,” Cain said. “After we settled in and got a lead in, they decided let’s get the seniors some goals and Chanel became the goal … so we accomplished our goal.”

Getting the upperclassmen to score on their night was such an focus, it was with some reluctance Elizabeth Poe accepted the first of her two goals to open the scoring.

Wells made a nice run down the right side and crossed a ball that got behind seventh-grade Oneonta keeper Mary T. Pickers heading for the net. Poe came rushing in from the left and tapped the ball home just before it crossed the goal line.

When everyone realized what happened, the players tried to credit Wells with the goal. Wells eventually scored the fourth goal of the first half a little more than a minute after Virginia Poe scored the first senior goal to make it 3-0. Xinyi Tang scored their second goal.

“I didn’t know there was a defender behind me or not and we’re always told to finish it so I just went ahead and finished it for her,” Elizabeth Poe said. “We all knew at the beginning of the game we were going to try to get all the seniors a goal, especially the ones who hadn’t gotten one yet, especially Chanel.”

Elizabeth opened the second-half scoring with a deep-angle shot that was more of a cross that found the net. The Poe sisters now have 14 goals apiece.

Reali scored four goals as a center forward last year — her first with the team — but was moved to defense this season to take advantage of her speed, aggressiveness and experience. It became her job to keep other players away from keeper Matti Lowery and her own chances for scoring disappeared.

Until Monday night.

“I was so excited,” Reali said. “This year it was a lot different for me not to score any goals and I was really excited that in one of our last home games I could score.”

It almost didn’t happen. She had to come off the pitch late in the second half to catch her breath after taking a shot to her midsection. She wasn’t on the sideline long and shortly after returning got her goal.

“Honestly, I thought if I wouldn’t have gotten it today then it was going to be my only chance because we only have one more home game and I would probably be needed on defense,” she said. “All the other shots I took I one-touched it, so this time Virginia advised me to take a touch before I shot, so I took a touch and tried to place it in the corner on the ground and that’s what I did.”

Back in the other end, Lowery made 11 saves in recording her ninth shutout of the season.

Oneonta 2, Jacksonville 0

The Redskins scored a goal in each half to spoil the boys’ Senior Night.

Tyler Thomas scored with 13:14 left in the first half and Noah Piceno redirected a header with 3:43 to play. Keeper Joshua Vogel made them stand with several spectacular saves, including one in each half off free kicks by Kale Rowan.

To their credit, the Golden Eagles did attack the goal stronger in the second half.

“We took two really tough games last week and they’ve kind of down on themselves a little bit,” Jacksonville coach Justin Buckles said. “I told them at halftime it’s all about want; you’ve got to have heart, how much you want it.

“We changed a little bit up at halftime, we moved three up top, but the fight and the effort was definitely better in the second half.”

The Golden Eagles return to action tonight at Cherokee County. They can still make the playoffs if they beat the Warriors today and Boaz, and Cherokee County beats Crossville.


East Limestone (8-1-2)
St. Paul’s (14-4-4)
Randolph (9-4-2)
Guntersville (11-2-4)
Helena (9-5-3)
UMS-Wright (10-5-4)
Demopolis (8-3)
Moody (9-4)
LAMP (7-6-2)
Childersburg (9-7-0)

St. Paul’s (13-4-2)
Guntersville (10-0-0)
Jacksonville (12-4-0)
St. James (10-3-0)
Randolph (8-5-1)
St. John Paul II (6-6-3)
Springville (9-2)
Faith Academy (10-6-3)
Madison County (11-3-0)
East Limestone (8-5-0)

x-Updated April 13

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