E.A. Sports Today

Pouring it on

Jacksonville, Wiggins continue to pile up points, yardage in playoffs, reach semifinals, showdown with Anniston

By East Alabama Sports Today
Jacksonville’s run in the Class 4A playoffs just keeps getting better and better.
The Golden Eagles set a school record for points in a playoff game for the third week in a row, outgunning Northside 63-27 Friday to reach the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
They will host region and county rival Anniston (9-4) for a shot at winning their first state championship. 
“I’m just proud of them, man,” Jacksonville coach Clint Smith said. “Last week was a big week for our program just because we did something that Jacksonville had never done in school history. Part of you kind of wonders are we going to get satisfied with getting into the quarterfinals and making history and doing that or are we going to want more? Our kids came out tonight and answered that question and just played so well.
“It wasn’t the perfect night with the wet and all, but our kids really just came really focused and got the job done tonight.”
Ron Wiggins again led the offense with 211 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 15 carries. He scored on runs of 10, 55, 13, 34 and 2 yards; three of the touchdowns came in a 28-0 third quarter after the Golden Eagles built a 35-20 halftime lead. Taj Morris had 186 yards on six carries and touchdown runs of 70, 85 and 1 yards.
The Golden Eagles (11-2) struck on the first play of the game when Luke Jackson hit Jaeden Barksdale on a 66-yard touchdown pass and they kept pouring it on. Jackson was 8-of-11 for 168 yards passing.
In their seven-game winning streak since losing to Piedmont, the Golden Eagles (11-2) have scored 55 points or more four times and averaged 48.9 a game. In their three playoff wins, they scored 55 against Cordova, 56 against St. John Paul II and 63 against Northside.
They’ve amassed 1,310 yards in the playoffs, 1,079 of it rushing. Wiggins has 747 yards and 15 touchdowns in the playoffs. He has more than 40 TDs on the season.
“There are a lot of key factors (to that offensive explosion),” Smith said. “Coach (Jamison) Edwards has been my offensive coordinator for 15 years and he’s done an outstanding job with those guys. Coach Byron Bibbs in our offensive line coach and coming in that was our big question mark and, man, I’m telling you, our guys up front have just kept improving and just really, really gotten clicking.
“That and staying steady, playing within ourselves. We’ve got a lot of parts and a lot of guys who can make plays, but there’s an unselfishness in our players in not caring who scores and who does what and doing their job every play. I think the unselfishness of our team has really taken our offense to a good place.
“We don’t go (into a game) saying we’re going to score 50 or 60 or whatever. We just want to go in and execute the game plan. Truth be known I’m a defensive guy. I came from Clay County where you won those 7-6, 7-0 games. Since the Piedmont game our kids refocused and rededicated themselves as far as doing what we had to do to get better. I think we really started peaking at the right time and playing our best ball when it really mattered, and just our kids not being satisfied and going as far as we can go.”
Northside             6              14            0              7               –                27
Jacksonville         21            14            28            0               –                63
Scoring plays
J – Jaeden Barksdale 66 pass from Luke Jackson (kick failed), 11:47 1Q
N – William Powell 66 pass from Andrew Corkren (Nicholas Overton kick failed), 11:16 1Q
J – Ron Wiggins 10 run (Taj Morris run), 6:57 1Q
J – Taj Morris 70 run (Mason Terrell kick), 3:45 1Q
N – Andrew Corkren 2 run (pass failed), 8:38 2Q
J – Ron Wiggins 55 run (Mason Terrell kick), 6:43 2Q
N – William Powell 17 pass from Andrew Corkren (Ashton Pugh pass from Andrew Corkren), 3:42 2Q
J – Ron Wiggins 13 run (Mason Terrell kick), 0:50 2Q
J – Ron Wiggins 34 run (Mason Terrell kick), 10:11 3Q
J – Taj Morris 85 run (Mason Terrell kick), 6:08 3Q
J – Ron Wiggins 2 run (Mason Terrell kick), 5:22 3Q
J – Taj Morris 1 run (Mason Terrell kick), 7:50 3Q
N – William Powell 7 run (Nicholas Overton kick), 3:10 4Q

Anniston 30, Deshler 13

The Bulldogs broke open a tight game with three touchdowns in the final 9:20 of a wild fourth quarter, highlighted by two long runs by Tony Hunley and A.J. Brown, to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2011. 
They went into the fourth quarter with an 8-6 lead, then found themselves trailing 13-8 with 11:29 to play. That’s when the fireworks started.
Brown scored on a 2-yard run with 9:20 to play (after a 45-yard burst) and ran in the two-point conversion to put Anniston up for good 16-13. Hunley’s 73-yard touchdown run with 5:27 left gave the Bulldogs some insurance and after Jacques Thomas’ second interception gave Anniston the ball back Brown raced 76 yards for his third touchdown of the game to make 30-13 with 3:10 remaining.

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