E.A. Sports Today

Memorable night

Piedmont’s Darnell Jackson has memorable, if abbreviated, all-star game experience

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY — Darnell Jackson will remember the last high school football game he will ever play for a very long time — even if it was one of the shortest games he’s ever played.

The Piedmont defensive back will remember the two-a-day practices, the activities and the players he got to know and play with in the AHSAA North-South All-Star Game at Cramton Bowl.

He’ll also remember the game being called early in the second quarter because of a strong storm that blew through the area. And the potentially big plays on the special teams he was scheduled for but didn’t get to run.

“I’m sad we didn’t get to finish the game,” he said, sitting on a training table under the bleachers pulling off tape as the rained poured above. “I wish we could’ve finished the game.”

Jackson wasn’t shortchanged on the action, though. It was only the bad weather and his team having to play offense that kept him off the field.

He played every defensive snap at corner and all the special teams. He stopped the South’s first bid to seize momentum when he stuffed a fourth-and-16 pass from the North 35 in the first quarter, stopping Northview’s Kolby Easley after a 4-yard gain.

“We had some really talented kids, but none better at corner than Darnell,” said Oxford assistant coach Scott Peavey, the North’s defensive coordinator. “He’s a fantastic player. He’s got great vision. He’s a big hitter. He’s a great football player.”

Piedmont coach Steve Smith said Jackson “looks quick … looks fresh” from the stands and “wouldn’t be surprised” if his senior captain made a big play later in the game.

He knew from the beginning of the week his player, the only player from Calhoun County in the game, would be a factor.

“Darnell loves to play; he’s got a little kid’s mentality when it comes to getting to play,” Smith said. “When the opportunity came for him to play another time before going off to Lenoir-Rhyne he was excited about it.”

Jackson revealed the North had a couple gadget plays designed for him on special teams, including a post pass on a fake punt. He never got to run it. The game was called with 8:16 left in the second quarter with the North leading 14-0.

The North did convert a fake punt run on the drive that produced its first touchdown.

“I’m not a fake punt guy, but when it doesn’t cost you your job you can fake punt ’em,” Peavey said. “I’m sitting over there like, hey, I’m not getting fired, I’m going to call it, so I called it.”

Alexandria head coach Frank Tucker, the head coach for the victorious North, was happy to sign off on the trick play.

“I thought I was a good cheerleader,” he said. “I just hugged on these guys a lot. It just turned out to be a fun time and a good week.”

North 14, South 0

North 14 0 — 14
South 0 0 — 0

N – David Mitchell 14 run (Morgan Coston kick), 8:55 1st
N – Aaron Pride 51 pass from Zach Cupps (Coston kick), 5:19 1st
Game suspended with 8:16 left in the second quarter

Statistics N S
First downs 8 3
Rushes-yds 12-49 6-0
C-A-I 8-11-0 7-12-0
Passing yds 163 75
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-avg 1-46 3-38.7
Penalties-yds 1-14 0-0

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