E.A. Sports Today

Smith beats former team

Jacksonville coach Clint Smith finally solved the riddle of Saks, beating his former team for the first time

Jacksonville's defense recorded seven sacks and kept Saks off the scoreboard in the second half. On the cover, Nico Richmond dives for one of the eight touchdowns he and running mate Taye Ackles combined to score Friday night. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Jacksonville’s defense recorded seven sacks and kept Saks off the scoreboard in the second half. On the cover, Nico Richmond dives for one of the eight touchdowns he and running mate Taye Ackles combined to score Friday night. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — It seemed everyone was talking about Clint Smith beating his former team Friday night except Clint Smith.

The Jacksonville head coach had come to the Golden Eagles from Saks in 2011 and in the four previous years the teams had played Smith had never beaten his former team. And, in fact, had lost rather handily.

That monkey was removed Friday as the Smith and the Golden Eagles trounced Saks in the teams’ region opener 63-24.

The 63 points were the most Jacksonville had ever scored in the series and matched the 63 Saks put on it in last year’s game. They were the most points the Wildcats had allowed in any game.

“We knew with coach Smith coming from there we always wanted to beat them and we finally stepped up this year and got the W for him,” running back Taye Ackles said. “He was tired of us losing to them and he wanted us come out confident to get it.”

Ackles rushed for 181 yards and five touchdowns on 15 carries. Nico Richmond, his running mate on and off the field, rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. Ackles scored on runs of 2, 1, 6, 39 and 41 yards. Richmond scored on runs 5, 6 and 27 yards.

“I just came out and followed my blocks and they got me in the end zone,” Ackles said. “They were blocking real good, Nico was setting up some good runs and it was getting me close enough to put it in the end zone. I tried to play the best I could.”

The game was back and forth in the first half with 52 total points and four lead changes in the final 5:30 — and all Jacksonville in the second. The Golden Eagles kept Saks off the board in the second half.

For Smith, the most important aspect of the game was his team is now 1-0 in the region rather than any personal vindication the victory may have brought.

“I’m not going to go there,” he said. “This was a big win for us, for this team, for this community and I was very excited with how everybody came out and supported us tonight. It was just a great team victory. It was the next game. I really don’t know what else to say.

“They’ve been at the top of the region the past couple years and looking at the schedule, at our region, we felt Saks would be up there at the top of our region. Us coming in here tonight and beating them it puts us in a good situation.

“I have nothing but respect for all the coaches and community and kids there. I was there for nine years and I build a lot of relationships. There are a lot of good people over there. It’s not really satisfaction in beating anybody. It’s just a respect I have for them. We’ve been through a lot these last four years and we’re starting to reap the benefits of that. It’s just good to see us starting to take the next step.”

JACKSONVILLE 63, SAKS 24

Saks 7 17 0 0 — 24
Jacksonville 7 21 21 14 — 63

J – Taye Ackles 2 run (PAT kick), 8:29 1Q
S – Rodney Reddick 49 fumble return (PAT kick), 3:01 1Q
S – Tra Huguley 29 pass from Laderrick Bell (PAT kick), 11:13 2Q
J – Taye Ackles 1 run (PAT kick), 10:40 2Q
S – Anthony Cornejo 37 FG, 7:25 2Q
J – Nico Richmond 5 run (PAT kick), 5:29 2Q
S – Tra Huguley 17 pass from Laderrick Bell (PAT kick), 3:00 2Q
J – Nico Richmond 6 run (PAT kick), 2:08 2Q
J – Nico Richmond 27 run (PAT kick), 6:11 3Q
J – Taye Ackles 6 run (PAT kick), 3:30 3Q
J – Taye Ackles 39 run (PAT kick), 0:21 3Q
J – Taye Ackles 41 run (PAT kick), 10:01 4Q
J – Rontarius Wiggins 51 run (PAT kick), 5:10 4Q



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