E.A. Sports Today

Backyard brawl

Saks stifles neighborhood rival Anniston to remain undefeated; Mays plays a big role on the field where his dad once played

Saks’ Kaynan Mays (9) positions himself to bat down a pass by Anniston quarterback Savion Bethune. On the cover, Saks quarterback LaDerrick Bell signals the Wildcats have scored to take the lead. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

When Kaynan Mays was younger he would listen as his father would recount the stories of his days making plays on the Lott-Mosby Memorial Stadium turf and dream of the day he would follow in his father’s footsteps.

Kivuusama Mays shared more of those stories with his son as recently as Thursday and it got Kaynan even more fired up to play Friday night.

The younger Mays, a senior middle linebacker for Saks’ currently undefeated team, played for the first time ever on the field where his father made his name and helped the Wildcats get past his dad’s alma mater 19-6.

To view a gallery of B.J. Franklin photos from this game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

The elder Mays played at Anniston in the early ’90s — an Alabama-Mississippi All-Star in 1992 — then collegiately at North Carolina and finally three seasons in the NFL with the Vikings and Colts. He currently lives in Atlanta and couldn’t make it to the Bulldogs’ Homecoming game Friday, but knew what playing on the old ball field would mean to his son and encouraged him to be at the top of his game.

“It feels good to play here knowing my dad came here and did great things,” Kaynan said. “It feels good to be able to win knowing my dad played here.”

It wasn’t the prettiest of games and the proximity of the schools and their desire to beat the other may have lent itself to that. It was 7-6 at halftime before Johnathon Cobb scored two touchdowns in the second half to give Saks some breathing room.

Cobb rushed for 159 yards on 24 carries. JaDarris Griffin had 80 yards and scored the touchdown that put the Wildcats (7-0, 5-0) ahead.

“I thought it would be an ugly game,” Saks coach Jonathan Miller said. “I thought it would be a defensive game. I thought it would be fairly low scoring.

“I knew Anniston was going to give this game everything they had and they did. They put all their marbles in this basket and I figured it would be a tough, hard-fought game. We both wanted to win this game really bad. I’m just happy to get out of here with a win.”

Anniston scored first when C.J. Ramsey shook off a would-be tackler and completed a 47-yard pass from Savion Bethune on the game’s opening possession, but the Bulldogs (3-4, 2-3) didn’t get much more. Twice they got into the red zone, but both times the threat was thwarted by one of the game’s many penalties.

“Sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re off,” Anniston coach Eddie Bullock said. “We were almost always there, but we just didn’t quite get there. We just made too many mistakes. Good teams capitalize on mistakes and that’s what Saks did tonight.”

Mays and the rest of the Saks defense held the Bulldogs to 34 yards rushing and 178 yards total, minus-5 rushing and 15 yards total in the second half. In the fourth quarter Mays had a sack and helped finish off another to pin the Bulldogs against their goal line and with about three minutes to play he recovered a fumble.

Right before the fumble recovery the Wildcats threw to Mays on a two-point conversion pass that was just out of his reach; it would have given them a 21-6 lead. Miller debunked the notion it was called to make the night even more special for the senior.

Despite the proximity of the schools to each other, they haven’t played very often. They’ve had only three home-and-home series since 2000 and Friday’s meeting was the first in Lott-Mosby since 2008, hence Mays’ first chance to play with his father did.

“For him to get a chance to play here at Anniston where his dad once roamed these sidelines I think was a neat thing for Kaynan,” Miller said. “I know he wanted to play well and I believe he did play well.”

[table id=75 /]

Saks 0 7 6 6 — 19
Anniston 6 0 0 0 — 6

A – C.J. Ramsey 47 pass from Savion Bethune (kick failed), 9:06 1Q
S – JaDarris Griffin 7 run (Anthony Cornejo kick), 6:02 2Q
S – Johnathon Cobb 15 run (run failed), 4:49 3Q
S – Johnathon Cobb 6 run (pass failed), 3:24 4Q

Saks’ Darien Briskey (11) moves in to try to keep Anniston’s Jamaree West from catching a pass. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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