E.A. Sports Today

Coosa knocks off JCA

Two big special teams plays late in the first half prove to be the Thunder’s undoing; emotions spill over in second half

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN — Coosa Christian converted two blocked punts in the final minute of the first half into 14 points and then wore down Jacksonville Christian in the second half to take a 21-7 Class 1A Region 6 victory Friday night.

“Our numbers (only 16 players) have hurt us as we get into the second half and have been an issue for us,” said JCA head coach Tommy Miller. “I am proud of our kids and well pleased at how we have battled this year despite the numbers.”

Their numbers were even more limited late in the game after four players – two from each team – were ejected for their part in a bench-clearing brawl at the end of the third quarter. One of the players was JCA’s top weapon, running back Reed Murphy.

The incident occurred on a play that went out of bounds on the JCA sideline at around the 20. Two players started mixing it up in front of the Coosa bench around the 35 and everybody ran over to the incident. The numbers of the ejected players were not announced.

Without Murphy in the JCA lineup, the Conquerors (2-3, 2-0) were able to send everybody on the defense and they sacked JCA quarterback Jayden Mitchell five times in the fourth quarter.

The Thunder (2-3, 1-2) had every chance to blow the game open in the first half, but penalties and mistakes proved their undoing. They missed a short field goal attempt and were held on downs inside the 15, but were in control in the first quarter.

Murphy put the Thunder ahead 7- 0 midway through the first quarter with a 6-yard run that completed an 80-yard scoring march on the Thunder’s first possession. Murphy rushed for 86 yards on 21 carries.

Coosa Christian’s defense began to dig in after that and fought to keep the Thunder at bay until its offense could get going.

Clinging to a 7-0 lead with less than two minutes to go in the half, the Thunder had their first punt of the night from out of their own end zone. The Conquerors blocked it and Justus Jackson picked it up and rambled in from 17 yards. The extra point was blocked leaving JCA up 7-6.

The Thunder went three-and-out after the ensuing kickoff and had another punt blocked with Coosa taking over at the 17.

Quarterback Jace Mills threw a pass to his tall receiver, Caden Davidson, and the 6-foot-2 senior took advantage of his height to pull the ball down for the score. Mills ran in the two-point conversion and the Conquerors held a stunning 14-7 halftime lead.

JCA came out with a crisp drive down to the 10, but after making a catch for a first down the Thunder receiver spiked the ball in front of a Coosa defender. The penalty backed up the Thunder and it was unable to score or get in scoring position the rest of the game.

Coosa’s 5-1 110-pound freshman running back Dartavious Britton took over from this point. The Conquerors kept the ball away from JCA, drove down and got another touchdown pass from Mills to Davidson to go up 21-7.

Britton rushed for 119 yards on 14 carries.

Coosa Christian 21, JCA 7

Jacksonville Christian 7 0 0 0 — 7
Coosa Christian 0 14 7 0 — 21

J – Reed Murphy 6 run (Elijah McCormick kick), 5:58 1Q
C – Justus Jackson 17 blocked punt return (kick blocked) 1:37 2Q
C – Caden Davidson 17 pass from Jace Mills (Jace Mills run), 0:15 2Q
C – Caden Davidson 14 pass from Jace Mills (Simon Park kick), 4:40 3Q

Team stats JCA Coosa
First Downs 9 11
Rushes-yds 38-113 23-169
Passing 6-18-0 3-10-1
Passing yds 90 33
Fumbles Lost 1 3
Penalties-yds 11-130 9-65

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