E.A. Sports Today

Oxford’s run ends

Turnovers, penalties spell doom for Yellow Jackets in a Class 6A playoff game that was statistically even

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

CLAY — Two stunning touchdowns in the last nine seconds of the first half was just too much for the Oxford to overcome and despite a valiant second-half effort it fell to Clay-Chalkville in the Class 6A quarterfinals 31-15.

Key mistakes were the story for the Yellow Jackets (12-1) in a game that was statistically even. Both teams gaining 260 yards of total offense and both had the ball for 56 plays. The difference was five turnovers and several key penalties in the first half that shut down the Oxford offense.

The Cougars (11-2) put 17 points on the board in the last five minutes of the first quarter and then scored their only second-half touchdown on a two-yard fumble return early in the third quarter.

Moments earlier, the game turned for Oxford the wrong way after a 78 yard kickoff return by Tyetus Smith-Lindsey to the 3 was nullified by a holding penalty. Instead of being down 10-7, it was still 10-0 and the Jackets were pinned inside their own 20 with five minutes to go in the half.

A short punt gave the Cougars great field position and they were able to score on a 14-yard pass from Willie Miller to Terrell Cole just out of the reach of a Jacket defender with nine seconds left in the half to stun the Jackets 17-0.

The ensuing kick-off hit off an Oxford player and Clay-Chalkville recovered at its own 44 with six seconds left in the half. Miller then heaved a 54-yard Hail Mary pass that Cole took away from two defenders for a shocking 24-0 halftime lead.

“They have a lot of good athletes and were difficult to stop, but we made too many mistakes to win a game like this,” Oxford coach Ryan Herring said.

An interception set up a 10-yard touchdown run by the Cougars’ Quenton Young in the first quarter. Oxford had only given up 21 first-half points in their first 12 games and now were down 24-0.

The Jackets had been behind only a little over two minutes the entire season, but the question now was how were they going to respond.

They showed no quit, coming out and roaring down the field in four plays to start the half with a quick touchdown to cut the lead to 24-7. Quarterback Abe Peoples fired a 4-yard pass to Dave Russell to get the score.

“I really love this team and how they played all year,” Herring said.

The Jackets needed stops, but the Cougars picked up a big third-and-14 and moved the ball to midfield and were forced to punt. The punt rolled dead at the 1. Two plays later the ball popped out of the pile and Jaylan Mack picked it up at the 4 and took it into the end zone for a 31-7 lead.

Smith-Lindsey scored on an 8-yard run and Caden Higgins ran in the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 31-15. Smith-Lindsey gained 89 yards on 23 carries and finished his junior season with 24 touchdowns and 1,742 yards rushing.

Later in the quarter, a fourth-down fake punt pass of 31 yards got the Jackets deep in Cougar territory, but the Jackets were stopped on downs.

[table id=101 /]

Oxford 0 0 7 8 — 15
Clay-Chalkville 7 17 7 0 — 31

CC – Quenton Young 10 run (Jaren Van Winkle kick) 1:46, 1Q
CC — Drennen Mayhew 35 FG, 5:17 2Q
CC – Terill Cole 14 pass from Willie Miller (Drennen Mayhew kick), 0:09 2Q
CC – Terill Cole 54 pass from Willie Miller (Drennen Mayhew kick), 0:00 2Q
O – Dave Russell 4 pass from Abe Peoples (Zane Barbao kick), 10:50 3Q
CC – Jaylin Mack 4 fumble return (Drennen Mayhew kick), 5:33 3Q
O – Tyetus Smith-Lindsey 8 run (Caden Higgins conversion), 8:51 4Q

You must be logged in to post a comment Login