E.A. Sports Today

Higgins steps up

Oxford freshman quarterback draws his first varsity start, delivers three touchdown passes

By East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Sometimes a football team loses its focus on Homecoming Week, but that was not the case for second-ranked Oxford Friday night as the Yellow Jackets cruised to their 17th straight regular-season victory, overpowering Southside 42-0 Friday at Lamar Field.

“Thank goodness, Homecoming is over,” Yellow Jackets head coach Ryan Herring said. “There are so many things going on and it is so hard to focus, but our kids came out so focused tonight.”

The first six games of the season have featured three bruising games against ranked opponents and as a result the Jackets came in a little banged up. They rested junior quarterback Abe Peoples and turned the reins over to freshman Trey Higgins in the 6A Region 7 contest.

Higgins threw three touchdown passes in his first varsity start; he was 9-of-16 overall for 173 yards. He also had 45 yards on four carries and had another long touchdown pass called back on a holding penalty.

Peoples will undergo tests on Monday to determine when he will return.

“It was a good win and we got to rest some folks and got the win,” said Herring.

The focus was evident early as Oxford marched for touchdowns on its first two possessions.

The first score came on a 9-yard run by Tyetus Smith-Lindsey that culminated a nine-play, 39-yard drive. Higgins threw a perfect strike to Dave Russell from 39 yards out to give the Jackets a 14-0 lead after one quarter.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Jackets scored three more times for a 35-0 halftime lead. Richard Cantrell ran one in from 30 yards and caught a 21-yard scoring pass from Higgins. Caden Higgins caught the other score on a 34-yard post pattern. Gabe Webb finished the Oxford scoring in the third quarter with a 2- yard dive off left tackle.

Smith had 49 yards rushing on seven carries, while Cantrell added 48 yards rushing, 21 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns.

“Richard did a fantastic job for us,” Herring said. “He is a tough kid and has had some big runs for us this year.”

The Oxford defense held Southside to only 99 yards of offense on 46 plays. It was the Yellow Jackets’ third shutout this season. They have allowed only seven points in their last three games.

It was the first time Southside had been shut out since a 20-0 loss to Boaz on Oct. 7, 2011.

[table id=71 /]

Southside 0 0 0 0 — 0
Oxford 14 21 7 0 — 42

O – Tyetus Smith-Lindsey 9 run (Zane Barbao kick), 4:03 1Q
O – Dave Russell 39 pass from Trey Higgins (Zane Barbao kick), 0:56 1Q
O – Richard Cantrell 30 run (Zane Barbao kick), 9:40 2Q
O – Caden Higgins 34 pass from Trey Higgins (Zane Barbaro kick), 4:08 2Q
O – Richard Cantrell 21 pass from Trey Higgins (Zane Barbao kick), 0:24 2Q
O – Gabriel Webb 2 run (Zane Barbao kick), 0:18 3Q

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