E.A. Sports Today

Oxford wins region

Yellow Jackets rally from early deficit, score last 24 points to win region championship 14 points down; host Chelsea in opening round

J.B. Carlisle returned to the Oxford lineup after a four-game injury absence and rushed for 239 yards a long touchdown. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today
OXFORD – Traquon Fegans intercepted a long Gardendale pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown to ignite a big quarter that carried Oxford to a 31-14 region-clinching win at Lamar Field on Thursday night.
The interception came early in the fourth quarter and broke open a 17-14 tightly contested game.

“I just got a jump on the ball and then I started trying to run around and my teammates just kept telling me to run and I just kept running and all of a sudden I was in the end zone,” Fegans said.
The Jackets (8-1, 5-1 6A Region 6) rallied from a seven-point deficit to score the game’s last 24 points and did it with a powerful running game that had been missing for the last four weeks due to injuries to their top three running backs.
J.B. Carlisle, the team’s leading rusher, came back from a four-game absence with a vengeance. He rushed for 239 yards on 19 carries and a 74-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as his fresh legs beat down the Rockets (7-2, 4-2).
“I am so glad to be playing again,” Carlisle said. “The blocking for me up front was great. It was a good night for us.” 

With the running game back, the Jackets were pounding the middle. Quarterback Trey Higgins would follow Carlisle up the middle and gained 83 yards on 18 carries.

Andrew Warhurst kicked a huge 39-yard field goal midway through the third quarter that gave Oxford the lead it would not give up.

“It was a great win for us,” Oxford coach Keith Etheredge said. “It was one of our goals. We still have all of our goals in front of us and this sets us up nicely for the play-offs.”
The first half was a travesty of penalty flags as 24 penalties were called. Both teams scored quickly on their first two possessions and then both struggled to get anything going due to all the penalties. Some were offsetting penalties, but Oxford had 75 yards in penalties.
Carlisle rushed even times for 69 yards in the first half, while Higgins carried 10 times for 50. The only two passes Higgins completed both went for touchdowns – to Rock Taylor (35 yards) and Cameron Etheredge (7 yards).

Oxford will wrap up the regular season next Friday when hosting Sumter Central.
Projected play-off opponents could result in Oxford having four games at home to get to the state championship game in Auburn. The first-round opponent will be Chelsea. A win there would place them against the Mae Jemison-Hartselle winner; if Mae Jemison wins, the game would be at Oxford. A win there and if Clay-Chalkville makes it through, the Jackets would face Clay-Chalkville at Oxford (due to winning the region title).

A third-round win over the Cougars would put the Jackets into the semis and a possible re-match with Pinson Valley (which would have to get by unbeaten Muscle Shoals). Pinson Valley would have to come to Oxford because of the Jackets’ region championship.

To see a gallery of photos from the game, click on this link: www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Gard (14)Oxf (35)
111st D15

Gardendale  14  0  0  0   –  14
Oxford            7  7  3 14  –  31
Scoring Plays
G – William Crowder 1 run (Landon Erbrick kick), 10:22 1Q
O – Rock Taylor 35 pass from Trey Higgins (Andrew Warhurst kick), 9:03 1Q
G – Latravious Sanders 18 pass from William Crowder (Landon Erbrick kick), 0:23 1Q
O – Cameron Etheredge 7 pass from Trey Higgins (Andrew Warhurst kick), 5:47 2Q
O – Andrew Warhurst 39 FG, 8:27 3Q
O – Trequon Fegans 75 interception return (Andrew Warhurst kick), 9:12 4Q
O – J.B.Carlisle 74 run (Andrew Warhurst kick), 1:23 4Q

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