E.A. Sports Today

Impressive again

Oxford defense enjoys another big night, Yellow Jackets put a strong running game with it

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Tyetus Smith-Lindsey ground out 190 yards on 31 carries as fourth-ranked 6A Oxford Yellow Jackets handed 7A archrival Gadsden City its worst beating in the history of the series Friday night, 41-13 at Lamar Field.

The Jackets have won back-to-back games in the series for the first time and have won 12 straight regular-season games in pushing their record to 2-0 in the young season.

The 28-point spread tied for the widest margin of victory in the 13-game series. Gadsden City blanked the Yellow Jackets 28-0 in 2009.

A swarming Oxford defense enjoyed another big night, scoring seven points, forcing two fumbles and picking off two passes in shutting down the Titans on only 236 total yards — 102 coming on four big plays late in each half.

In two games the Oxford defense has only allowed 10 first downs and 266 total yards.

“We are proud of what we did tonight,” Oxford head coach Ryan Herring said. “Our defense is really playing well so far and our offense was just great and controlled the ball.”

Quarterback Abe Peoples has been playing with some banged up ribs he hurt on the first play of the season and the Jackets have had to adapt their offense accordingly. When he heals, expect to see an even more explosive offensive unit with the running skills.

“We are trying to take some of the weight off of him with our play calling and our other guys have been running the ball great,” said Herring.

In addition to Smith-Lindsey, Richard Cantrell rushed for 89 yards and two second-half touchdowns on 10 carries and Gabe Webb bulled his way for 55 yards on nine carries.

“What a great one-two punch we have in Smith and Cantrell,” said Herring.

It was a typical Gadsden City-Oxford first half filled with its share of strange plays. The Titans defense jumped offside seven times, there was an Oxford offensive penalty saving a lost Yellow Jacket fumble and the Gadsden City bench receiving a penalty for interference with an official on a 58 yard kick-off return by Smith-Lindsey.

The Yellow Jacket offense drew first blood on its first possession with an impressive nine-play, 75-yard drive that featured a 28-yard run by Smith-Lindsey on the first play. Peoples fired a 6-yard pass to Tacorrie Russell for the touchdown.

The second quarter saw Oxford put together a 16-play, 85-yard drive that chewed up more than eight minutes of clock. Smith-Lindsey dove in from 2 yards out on fourth down to put Oxford up 13-0 with 1:42 to go in the half.

The Yellow Jacket defense punched the ball loose from Jomentez Woods on the ensuing kickoff and Prentice Fomby pounced on it in the end zone. Caden Higgins ran in the conversion and Oxford was up 21-0.

With what little time was left in the half the Titans got two big plays from their offense and Woods raced in from 25 yards to cut Oxford’s lead to 21-7 with 24 seconds left.

Smith-Lindsey ran back the kickoff nearly 60 yards. Oxford threatened to add more points before the break but missed two passes inside the 10 as time ran out in the half.

The Titans crawled back in the game early in the third quarter when a bad snap forced Oxford punter Trey Higgins to take a knee on the 6. One play later Woods scored and it was 21-13.

The Jackets used a 12-play, 90-yard drive to cool off the Titans momentum. Richard Cantrell scored the first of his two second-half touchdowns on a 31-yard run. He later added a 19-yard score.

“We were just glad to get a win out of here tonight,” Herring said. “It is really huge for us to be 2-0 after the two teams we have played and now we get into region play (at Brewer) next week.”

[table id=52 /]

Gadsden City 0 7 6 0 — 13
Oxford 7 14 7 13 — 41

O – Tacorrie Russell 6 pass from Abe Peoples (Curtis Pritchett kick), 5:31 1Q
O – Tyetus Smith-Lindsey 2 run (PAT failed), 1:42 2Q
O – Prentice Fomby fumble recovery in end zone (Caden Higgins run), 1:35 2Q
GC – Jomentez Woods 25 run (Jonathan Kilgo kick), 0:24 3Q
GC – Jomentez Woods 6 run (kick failed), 9:44 3Q
O – Richard Cantrell 31 yard run (kick blocked), 4:29 3Q
O – Tacorrie Russell 10 pass from Abe Peoples (Curtis Pritchett kick), 9:58 4Q
O – Richard Cantrell 19 run (Curtis Pritchett kick), 4:45 4Q

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