E.A. Sports Today

Historic victory

Jacksonville scores a touchdown in the final minute, then holds to earn a rare victory in Alexandria

Jacksonville’s Omarion Adams (1) was a force on both sides of the ball Friday night. He scored the game -winning touchdown in the final minute and made some of the game’s biggest plays on defense. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jacksonville coach Clint Smith knew how much winning in one of the most storied stadiums in the county meant to him, but he knew what it meant to his community even more.

Omarion Adams scored on a 5-yard crossing run with 36.9 seconds left in the game to cap a wild fourth quarter and lift Jacksonville over Alexandria 35-28 for Smith’s first victory at Lou Scales Stadium since taking over the Golden Eagles in 2012.

But it was even bigger than that for Jacksonville. The Golden Eagles, regardless of the coach, hadn’t won in the Valley since a 21-20 overtime win in 2009 and had won there only twice since 1982.

“We were looking at it before we came in and we were 3-3 in our six years at Jacksonville, so this was kind of the rubber match,” Smith said. “It’s been a while since we won here. It’s a tough place to go in and win. We just challenged our kids all week long to play focused and play inspired, believe in each other, and they did that tonight. They had several times to fold up and let adversity beat us, but we didn’t.

“It’s just a big win for us. These kids know each other; they talk to each other every day. Any time you get into a rivalry game, these are ones especially these seniors will remember the rest of their lives. I’m just proud for them and I’m proud for our community.”

This one was classic. In what was a defensive battle for three quarters turned into a shootout in the fourth quarter, ending on an untimed down that could have flipped the script. The teams combined for five consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter after a scoreless third quarter and no lead was safe.

Alexandria took a 28-27 lead with 1:08 left when Jacob Wells hit Joe Tucker with a 10-yard touchdown pass and eighth-grade kicker Luis Santos hit his fourth extra point of the game.

But on the ensuing kickoff, what looked like an onsides kick was actually the ball glancing off the kicker’s foot and the Golden Eagles (2-0) fell on it near midfield. Jackson hit Adams in the seam of the Cubs’ zone on the first play for 40 yards and two plays later Adams was in the end zone with what proved to be the Golden Eagles’ winning touchdown.

“Gotta give a shout out to my coach for giving me the touchdown privilege,” Adams said. “And I did it for my team. My coach looked at me in my eyes and nodded his head and I knew that meant go get it.”

Adams was simply a beast. As much as he was a weapon on offense, he was a force on defense. He had six tackles that seemed like more, two sacks, an interception and forced fumble, and drilled Wells just as he released the ball on the final play of the game when the Valley Cubs (1-1) had to go for it all.

“I’ve been working hard since I was a little baby and I’ve been wanting to do this to make it out for my family,” Adams said. “Tonight I saw it and I went to go get it. And I’m going to keep doing it until we get all the way to the ‘ship, get my team a ring and take it back to Jacksonville High School.”

The Valley Cubs stayed in the game in the fourth quarter despite having no timeouts. They used their last one of the half midway through the third quarter.

Alexandria coach Todd Ginn accepted responsibility for mistakes in the game, but he couldn’t shake the difference Jacksonville’s speed made in the game. Whether it was Jackson, Adams, Ron Wiggins, Jewels Gray, the list seemed endless.

“They just had tons of speed,” Ginn said. “I take a lot of honor in preparing and, gosh, it’s humble pie tonight. They had speed everywhere. We have kids who play hard and get after it, but you saw tonight their speed was way above ours. Hats off to them.”

Jackson was 16 of 20 for 197 yards passing, a lot of it coming on a pop pass in the first half, but he proved he can put some air under his throws as well. Gray caught eight balls for 110 yards.

Wiggins wound up with 179 yards rushing. He was particularly strong in the fourth quarter, going for 89 yards and two touchdowns that gave Jacksonville leads of 21-14 and 27-21. He scored on runs of 19 and 25 yards, but also had a burst of 20 and at least three runs of seven.

“This is a big win, it’s history right here,” Jackson said. “Every since coach Smith has been here we haven’t won here at their house. We made history.”

Romeo Dye rushed for 114 yards for Alexandria. Wells passed for 166 yards.

On the cover, Jacksonville quarterback Luke Jackson (10) runs for yardage. To see a photo gallery from the game visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Jacksonville 35, Alexandria 28
Team stats Jax Alex

First downs 19 21
Rushes-yds 34-229 47-169
Passes 16-21-0 11-17-1
Passing yds 197 166
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-0
Punts-avg 1-24.0 1-30.0
Penalties-yds 12-97 4-45

Scoring summary
Jacksonville 7 6 0 22 – 35
Alexandria 0 14 0 14 – 28

J – Jewels Gray 23 pass from Luke Jackson (Noah Sawyer kick), 9:08 1Q
A – Sam Shaw 2 run (Luis Santos kick), 11:52 2Q
A – Kagan Hollingsworth 13 pass from Jacob Wells (Luis Santos kick), 1:33 2Q
J – Jewels Gray 5 pass from Luke Jackson (kick failed), 24.1 2Q
J – Ron Wiggins 19 run (Jewels Gray pass from Luke Jackson), 10:08 4Q
A – Romeo Dye 17 run (Luis Santos kick), 6:45 4Q
J – Ron Wiggins 25 run (pass failed), 5:05 4Q
A – Joe Tucker 10 pass from Jacob Wells (Luis Santos kick), 1:08 4Q
J – Omarion Adams 5 run (Ron Wiggins run), 36.9 4Q

Ron Wiggins (4) gave Jacksonville’s offense a big boost in the fourth quarter. He scored two touchdowns as the teams traded scores throughout the quarter.

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