E.A. Sports Today

Jackets streak snapped

Pinson Valley trims Oxford 28-13 in a battle of Top 3 6A teams; Jackets’ regular-season winning streak snapped at 24

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Defending 6A state champion Pinson Valley rolled into Lamar Field Friday night and snapped the second-ranked Oxford Yellow Jackets’ regular-season winning streak at 24 games with a 28-13 win.

The third-ranked Indians scored two quick touchdowns in the last six minutes of the first half that put Oxford in a hole the Jackets could not dig out of in the second half.

It was a chess match all night long as was expected of two teams ranked in the top three in the state. Oxford lined up man-to-man against the Indians receivers – all five of them – and everyone else went after Auburn quarterback commit Bo Nix with an all-out blitz. Nix was the lone back in the backfield and took hit after hit.

The Jackets had a drive to Pinson Valley 24 in the third quarter that was stopped on downs, but the Jackets drove it right back down the field on the brilliant running of Tyetus Smith-Lindsey, who had consecutive runs of 13, 23 and 18 yards. Quarterback Trey Higgins punched it in from 10 yards out and it was a one-score game with eight minutes to go.

Smith-Lindsey finished with 139 yards on 20 carries and now has 662 yards on 86 carries for the season.

“Man, did Tyetus have some runs tonight,” Oxford coach Ryan Herring said. “He runs like a 220-pounder. If we can just get him to the line of scrimmage, he can get us some yards.”

Nix engineered the only Indian drive of the second half and picked up a key first down on a 34-yard third-down pass while racing towards the sideline. The quarterback was running for his life and taking a beating, but he kept firing away.

He had an off-balance throw that somehow found Geordan Pollard at the 5 on a 38-yard pass to set up the Indians first quarter touchdown. He then missed his next 10 passes as the Jackets were harassing him.

The Oxford defense held Nix to eight completions in 27 attempts for 179 yards. Big plays of 52, 31, 30 and 34 made up most of the yardage. Nix had a 41-yard run on the first play of the game.

Pinson Valley head coach Patrick Nix, the former Auburn quarterback, does not allow his son to talk to the media, but had a sense of what he was facing.

“That is the best defense we have faced,” he said. “I am proud of our guys; we came into a hostile environment and got a big region win. They were a very good football team.

“It was a game in which both defenses played very well and we were just glad to get out of here with a win. We will see them again.”

Oxford put together a 95-yard drive early in the second quarter to tie the game. Smith-Lindsey exploded for 42 yards and Trey Higgins found Rock Taylor for 35 on the next play. That led to a 5-yard touchdown run by Jonovan Carlisle to tie the game.

The Indians kept trying long deep passes with their taller defenders and got three pass interference penalties on their next drive, leading to their second touchdown on an 11-yard run by Jaytovian Sharp.

Oxford went three-and-out late in the first half and an 11-yard punt gave the Indians great field position. Nix found Keyontease Johnson running free over the middle for a 53-yard touchdown and the Indians had a 14-point halftime lead.

“Our offense just had too many three-and-outs tonight,” said Herring. ”Our offense just struggled tonight and put us behind the eight ball too many times. We had some mis-reads that just stopped drives. We are not a third-and-long type of team right now. It was just a lot of little things that we just did not get done.”

Pinson Valley 28, Oxford 13
Team stats PV Oxf

First downs 12 11
Rushes-yds 25-122 38-159
Passes 8-27-0 5-14-1
Passing yds 179 65
Fumbles lost 0 0
Punts-avg 5-38.0 5-29.0
Penalties-yds 8-60 12-122

Scoring summary
Pinson Valley 7 14 0 7 – 28
Oxford 0 7 0 6 – 13

PV – Gaquincy McKinstry 4 pass from Bo Nix 4 (John Fritts kick), 6:32 1Q
O – Jonovan Carlisle 5 run (Misael Reyes kick), 11:27 2Q
PV – Jaytonian Sharp 11 run (John Fritts kick), 5:52 2Q
PV – Keyontease Johnson 53 pass from Bo Nix (John Fritts kick) 0:58 2Q
O – Trey Higgins 10 run (kick failed), 7:52 4Q
PV – Bo Nix 4 run (John Fritts kick), 5:04 4Q

Notes from the Huddle

GAME CHANGING PLAY: Late in the first half after a short Oxford punt, Bo Nix found Keyontease Johnson running free over the middle for an easy touchdown, extending the Indians’ lead to 21-7 at the half. Pinson Valley also got the second half kick-off.

OXFORD OFFENSIVE LINE: The line may have faced the biggest defensive line it will face all year. The Indians were 330, 285 and 270 across the front.

OXFORD RECEIVERS: Rock Taylor caught five passes for all 65 yards of the Yellow Jacket passing offense. Oxford only attempted 14 passes, five below its game average.

OXFORD DEFENSIVE LINE: The line spent most of the night blitzing Nix. To his credit, Nix was not sacked, but was hurried a lot forcing some early throws.

OXFORD LINEBACKERS: LSU commit Kendall McCallum spent part of the week with his leg in a walking cast, but was ready to go at game time.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Misael Reyes missed an extra point, the Jackets fumbled a punt, had an 11-yard punt and gave up some yards on kickoff coverage. These things have been there all year and need work.

OXFORD SECONDARY: The secondary was in man coverage on five receivers for 27 plays on the night and knocked down 19 passes from a future SEC quarterback that has deadly accuracy. Only eight catches were made by Indian receivers, and all but one of them the Indian receivers had to claw their way through Yellow Jackets hands to get to the ball.

REST AREA AHEAD: The Indians did not go back to their dressing room after their pre-game warm-up and at halftime, opting not to make the trip up the long hill to the visiting dressing room. They were probably a little cooler, as they settled under the trees in the southwest corner of the stadium.

NEXT WEEK: The Jackets are off. They return to action the following week at Huffman in another region game. The Jackets are 7-1 all-time against the Vikings. Huffman won the very first meeting between the two schools with a 17-16 win in 1996. The Vikings, whose last winning season was 2005, will be in the middle of a four-game stretch that includes Hewitt-Trussville, Oxford, Pinson Valley and Clay-Chalkville.

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