E.A. Sports Today

Triumphant return

Oxford coach Etheredge returns to one of his old stomping grounds, Yellow Jackets stomp Pell City 41-7

Oxford quarterback Trey Higgins ran for one touchdown and passed for two more in the first half Friday night. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today
PELL CITY – The beat goes on for Oxford as the Yellow Jackets took care of business over I-20 rival Pell City 41-7 Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets lead the all-time series 34-19-1, winning 21 of the last 25, 13 of the last 14 and, now, seven in a row.
The game also marked a return of sorts for Oxford head coach Keith Etheredge, who coached the Panthers two a pair of winning seasons in 2016 and 2017. Prior to that Etheredge won four state championships at Leeds.

Panthers coach Wayne Lee was an assistant under Etheredge at Pell City and took the job last year when Etheredge left for T.R. Miller.

It was the first road game of the season for Oxford, but that presented no problems.
“It is actually a little easier on the coaches when we have a road game as we do not have to do all the things with the field that we have to do when it is a home game,” offensive coordinator Will Wagnon said. “Our guys had a lot of road games last year, so where we play has really no effect on us.”

Wagnon was right as the offense put up 310 first-half yards and 41 points on the board.

The Yellow Jackets completely dominated the first half, scoring on 70, 52, 54, 52, 23 and a 23-yard interception return by Delvon Fegans.
The Jackets came at the Panthers from all directions as six different players scored in the first half. Quarterback Trey Higgins ran for a 10-yard score and threw two touchdown passes Devion Ball (8 yards) and Rock Taylor (32 yards). J.B. Carlisle banged one in from 13 yards out and Zay Britt scored on a 4-yard scamper.

The fast start has been something that the Yellow Jackets have done well this season as they have outscored their opponents 47-0 this year in the opening quarter.

“We got a lot of bumps and bruises, but both sides of the ball played well,” Etheredge said. “Coach Wagnon called some great plays on offense and we just got after them.”

Pell City put a scoring drive together late in the first quarter that ended on the first play of the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Kelton Seals to briefly cut the lead to 21-7.
That was about all the Panthers got on the ground as Oxford held them to minus-1 net yards rushing on 21 carries and 51 yards total for the game. Oxford’s defense has allowed only 34 yards on 84 carries this season.

As for the Jackets, Higgins rushed for 66 yards on 11 carries and was 12-for-21 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns before retiring for the night midway through the third quarter. The Jackets rested their starters after the opening drive of the second half.
Rock Taylor had four catches for 110 yards and a score to lead the Yellow Jacket receivers.J.B. Carlisle finished with 149 yards on 16 rushes.

“We just wanted to get out of the second half without anything crazy happening and we did,” Etheredge said. “We had some kids that got their first varsity touches in that second half and we were excited about that.”

Oxford 41, Pell City 7

23First downs5
186Pass yds52
8-59Penalty yds8-35

Scoring plays
Oxford           21 20 0 0 –  41
Pell City         0   7   0  0 –  0
O – Trey Higgins 10 run (Andrew Warhurst kick), 9:45 1Q
O – Zay Britt 4 run (Andrew Warhurst kick), 5:32 1Q
O – JB Carlisle 13 run (Andrew Warhurst kick), 2:59 1Q
PC – Kelton Seals 2 run (Harper Bell kick), 11:54 2Q 
O – Devion Bell 8 pass from Trey Higgins (Andrew Warhurst kick), 9:48 2Q
O – Rock Taylor 32 pass from Trey Higgins (Andrew Warhurst kick), 7:24 2Q
O – Delvon Fegans 23 interception return (kick failed), 7:05 2Q

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