E.A. Sports Today

Jackets go back-to-back

Oxford blanks Pell City to continue dominance in series, clinch its second straight Class 6A Region 7 crown

By East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — The Friday nights have rolled by quickly this season for the second-ranked unbeaten Oxford Yellow Jackets. In each game they have been building a tight relationship on and off the field and Friday night they captured their second consecutive Class 6A Region 7 championship with a 32-0 victory of Pell City.

It was the Jackets’ fifth straight win – and 11th in the last 12 games of the series — over their rivals from 30 miles down the interstate and their third shutout over the last five games. It extended their regular-season winning streak to 19 games.

“We have just been blessed the last couple of years with some great kids and some great coaches,” Jackets coach Ryan Herring said.

The Jackets (9-0, 6-0) will play the fourth-place team from Region 5 (currently Jackson-Olin) in their playoff opener Nov. 10.

Oxford exploded out of the gate against the Panthers (5-3, 4-1) as Tyetus Smith-Lindsey helped the Jackets go 80 yards in four plays on the opening drive. Lindsey sparked the drive with a 46-yard run and got the score on a 7-yard burst up the middle.

After the teams traded turnovers, Oxford put together an 84-yard march in eight plays. Punter Caden Higgins kept the drive alive with 6-yard run on a fourth down and on the next play Abe Peoples found Antwon Fegans running free over the middle for a 43 yard scoring pass to make it 12-0.

A spectacular 34-yard screen pass run by Smith-Lindsey keyed Oxford’s next possession that also resulted in a touchdown – an 11-yard run by Smith-Lindsey. Peoples found Dave Russell for a 25-yard scoring pass late in the second quarter to give Oxford a 25-0 halftime lead.

“I felt good out there tonight,” said Smith-Lindsey, who has rushed for 1,311 yards and 19 touchdowns through the first nine games. “The line was opening some great holes.”

For Peoples it was good to be back in the lineup after missing the last 10 quarters with various injuries. He threw for 136 yards and ran for 15 more in a little more than two quarters of action.

“I was not in great shape, but I missed the guys and it was good to be back out there,” he said. “It was just a good feeling.”

Richard Cantrell broke off a 41-yard run to cap a 52-yard drive in the third quarter that extended the lead to 32-0.

The Panthers drove down to the Oxford 5 in the fourth quarter for their only scoring threat and the Jacket defense responded with a great goal line stand. The Jackets have posted four shutouts this season and held seven of their nine opponents to seven points or less.

In two other games, one score came on the last play of the game and another came on a 1-yard drive after a fumble.

“They wanted the shut out and take great pride in keeping the other team out of the end zone,” Herring said.

“We wanted a shut out bad,” said nose guard William Muncher. “We had to bow our necks and show our heart and we did.”

Defensive back Junito Allen had a big game with two interceptions in the first half. Both came inside his own 20 after a couple of Oxford fumbles. Allen has also been a beast on kick-off coverage this year.

“I just try to stay in my lane and do my job,” said Allen. “Tonight, I was just making my drops on coverage and playing the ball and was fortunate to get a couple of them.”

Of course a shutout means a shaved head for an Oxford coach and for obvious reasons a lot of them are late getting into the locker room after a game. The victim Friday night was defensive line coach Chad Cochran.

After a week off, the Yellow Jackets will return to play Sumter Central in their final regular-season game Nov. 3 at Lamar Field. Sumter Central is coached by former Donoho head coach Shannon Felder.

“We got some rest coming this week and we are going to be all right,” Smith-Lindsey said.

[table id=80 /]

Pell City 0 0 0 0 — 0
Oxford 12 13 7 0 — 32

O – Tyetus Smith-Lindsey 7 run (Kick failed), 9:50 1Q
O – Antwon Fegans 43 pass from Abe Peoples (run failed), 2:25 1Q
O – Tyetus Smith-Lindsey 11 run (Zane Barbao kick), 7:57 2Q
O – Dave Russell 23 pass from Abe Peoples (kick failed), 1:10 2Q
O – Richard Cantrell 41 run (Zane Barbao kick), 2:37 3Q

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