E.A. Sports Today

First Friday fun

White Plains, Wellborn, Jacksonville, Saks win season openers; county teams go 7-for-8 in openers; Randolph County regroups

Friday’s County scores
x-Alexandria 18, Talladega 14
Biggersville (MS) 52, Donoho 14
Jacksonville 34, JB Pennngton 21
Oxford 28, Munford 0
Saks 35, Alabama Christian 22
White Plains 49, Vincent 18
Weaver 49, Cleburne County 35
Wellborn 55, Oak Grove 13
x-Thursday night

By East Alabama Sports Today

VINCENT – White Plains won a season opener for the first time since 2013 Friday night when it used a balance rushing attack to overwhelm Vincent 49-18.

The Wildcats rotated a trio of running backs – Garison Abbott, Mac Young and Jaden Harris – with good success and even had a freshman running back, Walker O’Steen, score a touchdown late in the game.

Sophomore quarterback Jaden Chatman, making his first varsity start in a regular season game, scored the first touchdown that sent the Wildcats off to a 20-6 halftime lead.

Chatman accounted for three touchdowns. Young rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Abbott rushed for 84 yards. The Wildcats rushed for 338 yards as a team.

“We really had a lot of good things happen to us,” White Plains coach Chris White said.

The Wildcats’ last season-opening victory came Aug. 30, 2013, a 23-6 win at Ohatchee. They hadn’t won a home opener since 2012.

The Wildcats didn’t win their first game last year until the final game of season, although they were in position to win several in the fourth quarter. They hadn’t won more than one game in a season since 2014.

“It really sets the tone for the season,” White said. “Right now our guys are excited to come back here on Sunday to see the grades of the film and go out and correct their mistakes.

“You lose and in the back of your mind you’re like, ‘Oh oh, it’s going to be a long year.’ Right now there’s a lot of excitement in our locker room. Our guys believe in themselves and that’s a big deal. It’s a feeling I haven’t been a part of as a head coach.”

White Plains 49, Vincent 18
Team stats WP Vin

First downs 21 13
Rushes-yds 48-338 29-87
Passes 3-7-0 6-10-0
Passing yds 85 87
Fumbles-lost 1-0 4-4
Punts-avg 0-0 2-43.0
Penalties-yds 10-85 9-75

Scoring summary
White Plains 14 6 16 13 — 49
Vincent 0 6 12 0 — 18

W – Jaden Chatman 4 run (kick failed), 8:50 1Q
W – Jaden Chatman 2 run (Ethan Bozarth pass from Jaden Chatman), 4:03 1Q
V – LaDonte McGregor 11 run (kick failed), 10:11 2Q
W – Mac Young 29 run (run failed)
V – Robert Albright 2 pass from Dusty Davis (pass failed), 9:33 3Q
W – Mac Young 43 run (Jaden Chatman run)
W – Ben Rouse 20 pass from Jaden Chatman (Jaden Harris run)
V – Malik Hamilton 37 pass from Dusty Davis (pass failed)
W – Riley Dothard fumble recovery (kick failed), 10:31 4Q
W – Walker O’Steen 5 run (Jarrett Crow kick), 3:03 4Q

Saks 35, ACA 22

MONTGOMERY – Roilan Torres rushed for 189 yards and scored two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Saks rallied to win a season opener that could hold the key to a monster year.

It was the Wildcats’ fourth season-opening win under coach Jonathan Miller; each of the previous three (2017, 2014, 2013) was the springboard for a 10-win (or more) season. It was their 11th straight regular-season victory.

Torres scored on runs of 75, 76 and 4 yards. His 75-yarder came on the Wildcats’ first offensive play of the game and his 76-yarder gave them the lead for good after Alabama Christian grabbed a 22-21 lead early in the fourth quarter.

After the 76-yard burst, Saks’ defense came up with a stop and Torres capped the next drive with an insurance score.

Jonathon Cobb rushed for 137 yards and scored on runs of 16 and 7 in the second quarter.

Daveon Dukes led the Saks defense with 7.5 tackles. Tony Hunley had 5.5 tackles, including three for loss and a sack.

ACA quarterback Reese Solar completed 17 of 25 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 96 yards.

Saks 35, ACA 22
Saks    7 14 0 14 – 35
ACA     0   8   8   6 – 22

Team stats      Saks    ACA
First down     13    15
Rushes-yds   35-357 26-97
Passes       2-3-0   18-27-1
Passing yds   12  214
Fumbles-lost  2-1    0-0
Punts-avg     3-37.7  3-54.0
Penalties-yds 2-15     3-15

Wellborn 55, Oak Grove 13

Quarterback Jett Smith ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns and the Panthers rushed for 333 yards as a team to win their first opener since 2016.

Kentrez Hunt rushed for 84 yards on six carries and Calvin Spinks scored on two of his three carriers and returned a kickoff for another score. They ran behind a line of Kaden Goodwin, Dalton and Dylan Gilbert, Harley Kendall and Armonte Tyus.

The Panthers’ defense, meanwhile, held their hosts to only 95 yards total offense (all rushing). All 39 Wellborn players who dressed for the game played.

“We were really ready to play,” Wellborn coach Jeff Smith said. “I knew we were ready to play this morning, but I didn’t think we’d play like that … I didn’t know we would open it up like we did.”

Jacksonville 34, J.B. Pennington 21

BLOUNTSVILLE – Junior quarterback Luke Jackson passed for 219 yards and threw three first-half touchdown passes for the Golden Eagles.

Jackson completed 10 of 15 passes overall. He was 7-of-9 for 176 yards in his big first half as the Golden Eagles opened a 28-13 halftime lead. He threw his two longest TD passes (40, 81) to Jaeden Barksdale.

Barksdale caught five passes total for 128 yards. Gray caught three for 58. Ron Wiggins was the Golden Eagles’ leading rusher with 143 yards on 20 carries and the final touchdown of the game.

Jackson Moses led the Jacksonville defense with nine tackles, three for loss.

Jacksonville 34, J.B. Pennington 21
Jacksonville 21 7 0 6 — 34
JB Pennington 0 13 0 8 — 21

J – Jewels Gray 25 pass from Luke Jackson (Noah Sawyer kick), 6:38 1Q
J – Kyre Maynor 28 pass interception (Noah Sawyer kick), 6:21 1Q
J – Jaeden Barksdale 40 pass from Luke Jackson (Noah Sawyer kick), 0:03 1Q
P – Cole Littleton 57 pass from Noah Allison (23 kick), 7:53 2Q
P – Sheldon Blythe 5 run (kick failed), 5:53 2Q
J – Jaeden Barksdale 81 pass from Luke Jackson (Noah Sawyer kick), 1:47 2Q
P – Cade Timmerman 10 pass from Noah Allison (Cade Timmerman pass from Noah Allison), 9:19 4Q
J – Ron Wiggins 37 run (PAT failed), 4:09 4Q

Biggersville (Miss.) 52, Donoho 14

Donoho found an out-of-state opponent to open its season that turned to be a little too big.

Quamon Davis rushed for 223 yards and the Lions pounded out 529 yards of total offense. Davis had 214 yards at halftime thanks in large part to touchdown runs of 52, 75 an 57 yards.

Hall Billings scored both of Donoho’s touchdowns, on runs of 1 and 2 yards in the second quarter. He had 39 yards rushing in the game and also completed 7 of 13 passes for 73 yards.

What next?

Randolph County senior running back Aaron Knight (R) watches Friday’s jamboree against Ranburne after the disclosure of a season-ending knee injury earlier this week. (Photo by Jeremy Wortham)

The Randolph County Tigers came into the season with some seriously high expectations. They were preseason No. 1 in Class 3A and heavy favorites to win Region 6.

Then adversity hit. Earlier this week it was disclosed senior running back Aaron Knight would be lost for the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee. The injury leaves the Tigers with only one experienced running back where once they had three.

Coach Pat Prestridge said he thought the team might have lost its edge a little after the setbacks, but maybe regained some of it in Friday’s 42-32 jamboree win over Ranburne.

He said the losses would impact the way he calls the early part of the season, but he’s relying on the play of his offensive line and some quick maturity among the underclassmen to help carry them through.

“I don’t want to put our guys in a bad situation, especially our (three) quarterbacks,” Prestridge said. “A year ago we had so many weapons that we could do whatever whenever. We’ve got to be conservative a little bit, but at the same time we’ve gotta grow as we move along.”

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