E.A. Sports Today

Mistakes cost Jackets

Promising start gives way to season-ending loss at Clay-Chalkville in third round of Class 6A playoffs

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

CLAY – It was a nasty night in more ways than one for the Oxford Yellow Jackets Friday night as they dropped a mistake-filled 45-9 decision to Clay-Chalkville in a region rematch in the Class 6A quarterfinals.

It was the Jackets’ second loss this season at Clay and the win propelled the Cougars (12-1) into a rematch with Pinson Valley next Friday night for a trip to the state championship game. Three of the final four teams in 6A North were from Region 6.

Playing at Clay for the third time in less than a calendar year, Oxford (10-3) started fast and for a moment looked like it was going to get into a shootout with the Cougars.

Senior tailback Tyetus Smith-Lindsey bolted 58 yards on the first play of the game and then took it to the 1 a play later, but a holding penalty pushed the Jackets out of scoring position.

Lindsey ripped off a 72-yard run on the artificial turf at Jerry Hood Field on the next possession for his 25th touchdown of the season, tying the score 7-7 with 4:03 left in the first quarter. Smith-Lindsey gained 195 yards on 19 carries giving him 1,872 yards on the season.

After holding the Cougars to a three-and-out, the Jackets took over at their own 33, but the Cougars picked off a pass by Oxford quarterback Trey Higgins and returned it to the Oxford 12. Cougars quarterback Willie Miller found Ed Osley in the end zone on the next play for a quick touchdown.

Smith-Lindsey was hurt for a series and Jonovan Carlisle took over and picked up 55 yards on five carries on the next drive. Another penalty backed the Jackets up and Andrew Warhurst just missed on a 34-yard field goal attempt.

The Yellow Jackets had 200 yards rushing against a stout Cougars defense in the first half, but could only pick up four yards of total offense in the third quarter. They had only 18 yards passing in the game.

The Jackets had a goal line stand at the 1 late in the first half, but a short punt gave the Cougars good field position and Miller found Anthony Loughheed in the end zone from 19 yards out to open up a 21-7 lead.

The rains came hard in the second half and the Jackets had a punt blocked and a fumbled punt attempt that gave the Cougars two easy scores. Miller hurt the Jackets more when he raced 54 yards for a score on the first play of the second half.

Miller finished the game with two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns. He had 116 yards rushing and 153 yards passing.

“We had a good week of practice,” Miller said. “Oxford has a good defense and coaches told us we had to go out there and focus and execute. We would have to come out and play hard to win this game.

“As the game unfolded, I saw opportunities for me to get some yards and we just had to execute the plays and get in the mindset that we were not going to let them stop us.”

It was the most points Oxford had given up in a playoff game since lost to Bob Jones 48-45 in the opening round of 2008 and its most lopsided playoff loss since lost to Russellville 55-13 in the opening round of 2001.

Clay-Chalkville 45, Oxford 9
Team stats Oxf CC

First downs 10 13
Rushes-yds 34-268 38-209
Passes 6-16-1 7-16-1
Passing yds 18 153
Fumbles lost 2 0
Punts-avg 7-31.6 2-39.5
Penalties-yds 8-60 11-96

Scoring summary
Oxford 7 0 0 2 – 9
Clay-Chalkville 14 7 17 7 – 45

CC – Willie Miller 1 run (Jaren Van Winkle kick), 5:01 1Q
O – Tyetus Smith-Lindsey 72 run (Andrew Warhurst kick), 4:03 1Q
CC – Ed Osley 12 pass from Willie Miller (Jaren Van Winkle kick), 2:10 1Q
CC – Anthony Loughheed 19 pass from Willie Miller (Jaren Van Winkle kick), 1:19 2Q
CC – Willie Miller 56 run (Jaren Van Winkle kick), 11:38 3Q
CC – Jaren Van Winkle 42 FG, 8:31 3Q
CC – Devin Dale 1 (Jaren Van Winkle kick), 1:15 3Q
CC – Courtney Braxton 34 run (Jared Van Winkle kick), 8:22 4Q
O – Safety, snap out of end zone, 3:33 4Q

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