E.A. Sports Today

Valley Cubs overrun Jacksonville

[corner-ad id=2]Alexandria keeps it on the ground — all game long — and pounds out nearly 500 yards

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

ALEXANDRIA — Some time this season the Alexandria Valley Cubs are going to throw a pass. It wasn’t Friday night, and it won’t be next week because they’re off.

Then, again, if they continue to have the success they enjoyed in their season opener, they might not have to ever put it in the air.

The Valley Cubs gained a large measure of revenge for disturbing losses to Jacksonville each of the last two years with a 46-14 rout of the Golden Eagles at Lou Scales Stadium.

The Cubs rolled up nearly 500 yards of offense — all without throwing a pass. They ran 52 times.

It was the first time they can remember not throwing a pass in a game since a wild 74-37 rout of Locust Fork in 2011. In that game, they ran every play while the Locust Fork quarterback either ran or threw on every snap.

“We might not have to (throw a pass this season) if we keep running it like that,” fullback Jacob Heathcock said.

“What’s the point of it?” added quarterback Luke Tucker. “If you’re beating them with something that works, if it’s not broken why fix it?”

The Valley Cubs have long been known for a powerful running game and with the stable of back they put on display Friday night, quarterback Tucker has a point.

Keenan Woodruff and Jamal Tucker, a tailback tandem Woodruff called “double-headed dragons on the ground,” had 153 and 146 yards, respectively, and a touchdown apiece. Heathcock had 103 yards and the game’s first two touchdowns. Luke Tucker also ran for two scores.

Cubs coach Frank Tucker said there were “plenty of passes on the play list,” but once the Cubs were up three scores there was no use going that route.

“It takes a lot less timing to hand that ball off to a good tailback with a good line,” he said, sounding like he almost anticipated the question. “I have a lot of confidence in us throwing the ball — I’m not afraid of throwing the ball — but with a big lead we’re going to just pound. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of good backs come through.”

Heathcock’s two touchdown runs and Luke Tucker’s first staked the Valley Cubs to a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter. When they punted for the first time with that score in the final minute of the first half it brought back some eerie memories of last year’s Jacksonville game.

In that game the Golden Eagles blocked the punt, scored with the break and rode that momentum in the second half to win the game.

“I remember everything about it and that’s what I think motivated all of us,” Luke Tucker said. “It was just lingering all year, all off-season, throughout workouts and that’s what made us want to win this game so bad. They didn’t have to say anything about it; we all knew it.”

This time there was none of that heartbreak. The Cubs just kept pounding and pounding on the ground. They scored on their first four possessions of the second half and carried on to the most lopsided win in the series since their 49-13 win in 2008.

“They controlled the line of scrimmage on us all night and that was a big concern for us coming in,” Jacksonville coach Clint Smith said. “We are young in a lot of places, but they were just more physical than us tonight. They controlled the ball, kept our offense off the field and chewed up time. Just that good ball-control ground game that we couldn’t stop and didn’t have an answer for.”

(On the cover: Alexandria’s Jacob Heathcock (15) runs inside for the game’s first touchdown.)

ALEXANDRIA 46, JACKSONVILLE 14

Jacksonville 0 0 7 7 — 14
Alexandria 6 14 19 7 — 46

A – Jacob Heathcock 4 run (kick failed), 6:33 1Q
A – Heathcock 1 run (Luke Tucker run), 9:42 2Q
A – L. Tucker 2 run (pass failed), 5:10 2Q
A – Jamal Tucker 29 run (run failed), 8:30 3Q
A – Keenan Woodruff 39 run (Trey Primm kick), 4:45 3Q
J – Niko Richmond 87 kickoff return (Jad Gao kick), 4:29 3Q
A – Luke Tucker 1 run (kick failed), 18.7 3Q
A – Grayson Chaffin 54 run (Primm kick), 8:30 4Q
J – Tahj Kirkland 18 pass from Colton Clark (Gao kick), 1:30 4Q

Category Jax Alex
First downs 13 20
Rushes-yds 32-195 52-498
C-A-I 6-15-0 0-0-0
Passing yds 41 0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0
Punts-avg 4-31.8 2-34.5
Penalties-yds 4-60 10-97



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