E.A. Sports Today

Sleek, slick Saks

Silver shoes, stingy defense, clean game lead Wildcats to 45-0 rout and hand Cherokee County its first shutout in 41 games

Saks quarterback LaDerrick Bell uses his legs and silver shoes to pick up yardage here, but he also threw his first two touchdown passes of the season Friday night. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jonathan Miller and LaDerrick Bell have been waiting all year to see what they saw Friday night.

Miller wanted to see his Saks football team play a “clean” game — one without many penalties and no turnovers – and for the most part he got that. Bell had been waiting all season to throw a touchdown pass — and the silver-shoed slinger threw two of them.

Together, it added up for the Wildcats – still unranked despite being undefeated – to run over Cherokee County 45-0.

The Saks offense collected 402 yards and had zero turnovers. Johnathon Cobb rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Bell rushed for 102 yards and threw for 110.

Get a load of LaDerrick Bell’s silver cleats. Amareea Abney has a pair, too.

After going nowhere on their opening possession, the Wildcats (6-0) scored the next four times they had the ball to open a 24-0 halftime lead and then three of their four times in the second half.

“I wanted to see us play a clean game – fewer penalties and no turnovers – and I think we accomplished that,” Miller said. “We’ve probably had six or seven touchdowns called back this year and a lot of turnovers; we fumble the ball just about every week. I wanted to see us play a clean game and I thought when we finally put one together we could have a performance like this.”

Bell, the first senior quarterback under Miller to start two years in a row, threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Brent Clark in the second quarter and an 84-yarder to Amareea Abney in the third. He finished completing six of nine attempts. It’s gotta be the shoes, right?

“It just hadn’t happened,” Bell said. “I guess tonight was my key.”

Abney played virtually every minute of the game, but there was a particularly dynamic 57 seconds in the third quarter in which the senior receiver/defensive back, who also sports the same silver shoes as his quarterback, did it all. He intercepted Tyren Dupree on back-to-back throws and scored the long touchdown on a grab in front of the Saks bench that drew praise from Miller for its degree of difficulty.

“I never expected that, but it felt really good,” Abney said. “I been practicing all week and I knew we would get after it today. It was a magic moment, I guess. Somebody hit me with some good luck today.”
“We’ve been telling him all the time he can be real good and just trust in himself,” Bell said. “I think that’s what he did tonight and he saw what he could do.”

The Wildcats didn’t give up much defensive, either. They held the Warriors (2-5) to 138 yards of total offense while posting their second shutout of the season.

It was the first time Cherokee County has been shut out in 41 games. The last time the Warriors were blanked, they fell to Cleburne County 31-0 in the second game of the 2014 season. It’s the first time they were shutout on the road since losing to Anniston 41-0 in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.

They had been averaging 21 points a game, but this was the fifth time this season – and third game in a row – they had given up 40 points or more.

The game did start promisingly for the Warriors. They threatened on their opening possession, but Kaynan Mays sacked Dupree on fourth down from the Saks 36 to end the threat and the Warriors didn’t manage much else after that.

“They’re just a good football team,” Warriors coach Tripp Curry said. “We started out playing well for about the first six or seven minutes and they had a little bit more depth than what I thought they had. They’re faster than I thought they were. And the quarterback, we never slowed him down and he’s as good as advertised. You can’t compensate for speed. They have it all over the field.”

Saks’ Amareea Abney (6) and Darien Briskey wrap up Cherokee County’s Julian Latty early in Friday’s game. Later, Abney had two interceptions and a long touchdown catch in the space of 57 seconds. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

[table id=70 /]

Cherokee Co. 0 0 0 0 — 0
Saks 10 14 14 7 — 45

S – Anthony Cornejo 25 FG, 4:13 1Q
S – Johnathon Cobb 31 run (Anthony Cornejo kick), 1:36 1Q
S – Johnathon Cobb 3 run (Anthony Cornejo kick), 10:58 2Q
S – Brent Clark 30 pass from LaDerrick Bell (Anthony Cornejo kick), 7:59 2Q
S – Roilan Torres 4 run (Anthony Cornejo kick), 7:33 3Q
S – Amareea Abney 84 pass from LaDerrick Bell (Anthony Cornejo kick), 3:35 3Q
S – Will Fletcher 5 run (Anthony Cornejo kick), 8:35 4Q

To see more pictures from this game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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