E.A. Sports Today

Jackets seek some magic

Oxford needs some help to make the playoffs after losing to Chelsea on Senior Night

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Ryan Herring looked, felt and sounded like a football coach who knew his team didn’t control its own postseason destiny anymore.

With favorable results from elsewhere in the region, Oxford had a chance to punch its ticket to the Class 6A playoffs, but it lost to Chelsea Friday night at Lamar Field 38-17.

Now, the Yellow Jackets need some help. They got the Pell City win over Valley they needed, but now they have to win their season-finale Thursday night at Decatur and have Huffman beat Mountain Brook in another non-region games – and that still might not be enough.

“That’s a lot of ifs; now it’s going to be kind of a magic trick to get in,” Herring said. “instead of us taking care of what was out there — we didn’t do that — now we have to hope other people do things. You don’t ever want to put it in other people’s hands.

“The whole deal is right now I’m just so frustrated with this loss I’m not even thinking about that. We’re going to feel helpless because you’re going to feel like that, but right now I’m more worried about what went wrong against Chelsea.”

What went wrong was the Jackets (3-6, 2-4) didn’t play the kind of defense required in such a pivotal game.

The Hornets (7-2, 4-2) racked up more 400 yards of offense, 311 of it on the ground. They rushed for 257 yards in the second half.

Anthony Jones rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Zalon Reynolds had 80.

“We didn’t play physical, fast on defense,” Herring said. “We knew what they were going to do … but we didn’t play fast and physical. We got blocked

“Offensively we didn’t do a whole lot either, but I’m more hurt that we didn’t play better defense.”

The Jackets only trailed 14-10 at halftime, but the game turned in the first five minutes of the third quarter. The Hornets scored on the opening drive of the second half to make it 21-10, then intercepted freshman quarterback Abe Peoples and returned it to the red zone and scored again two plays later.

Peoples was thrust into the game midway through the second quarter after Brody Syer hurt his right wrist. The third-quarter interception notwithstanding, Herring thought Peoples “did great” in the first varsity action of his career.

He was 8-of-16 passing for 84 yards and directed two touchdown drives.

“I thought he did great,” Herring said. “You can hand Abe a million dollars or ask him for five, he’s going to have the same look on his face. He’s going to be a good card player one day. It didn’t seem to affect him one way or another when it was his time to go in.”


Chelsea 7 7 17 7 — 38
Oxford 0 10 0 7 — 17

C – Matthew Marquet 18 run (Jeffrey Thomas kick), 1:01 1Q
O – Keaton Borrelli 27 FG, 10:24 2Q
C – Zalon Reynolds 15 run (Thomas kick), 4:14 2Q
O – DJ Calhoun 22 run (Borrelli kick), 1:08 2Q
C – Marquet 25 run (Thomas kick), 9:17 3Q
C — Anthony Jones 1 run (Thomas kick), 7:32 3Q
C – Thomas 30 FG, 4:28 3Q
C – Jones 32 run (Thomas kick), 11:45 4Q
O – Trae Franks 13 run (Borrelli kick), 8:46 4Q

Team stats C O
First downs 26 24
Rushes-yds 56-311 36-161
C-A-I 5-9-0 11-22-1
Passing yds 92 127
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Punts-avg 4-40.5 2-41.0
Penalties-yds 10-70 7-91

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