E.A. Sports Today

A look back – JCA

EDITOR’S NOTE: The coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down these past few months and the absence of sports has been tough on avid sports fans. We can only hope the football seasons can go off as scheduled this fall. As we wait, there has been plenty of time to reflect on high school football in Calhoun County.
The following is part of a 14-part series compiled by East Alabama Sports Today contributor Brant Locklier that looks back on the past decade of football for each of the 13 county football-playing schools. The 2020 season that may or may not be will be center stage for the first time at the Calhoun County Quarterback Club Media Day July 24.
Special thanks goes to Ashleigh Jackson, who keyed in all the scores and the website, “The History of Alabama High School Football,” for their information. 

Jacksonville Christian Academy – Friday Night Lights Out

Sadly, the lights of Tommy Miller Field out behind Jacksonville Christian Academy have been turned off on Friday nights since the end of the 2016 season. The small school just ran out of enough players to field a team. It marked the end of a 26-year run of the only head coach the school ever knew, Tommy Miller.
Miller started the program in 1991 in the NACC. In 2002, after a 12-0 championship season in the NACC, the Thunder moved into the AHSAA in Class 1A. That first year in the AHSAA, the Thunder went a respectable 5-3, but only the 2010 team was able to get over .500 mark again (7-4) and make their first of two AHSAA play-off appearances.
Headmaster Miller remains one of the most respected coaches in the county and is still making his mark in basketball as the Thunder made it to the Final Four in Birmingham in Class 1A for the first time in school history earlier this year.
The Thunder was a competitive 28-42 during the 2010-2019 decade, with a 7-4 record in 2010. Their last win was on Sept. 23, 2016, a 35-0 road triumph over the Alabama School for the Deaf. Fittingly, the first win of the decade was a 40-12 home win over the same Silent Warriors.
High Point: The Thunder won three straight games to end the 2010 season – 41-8 over Akron, 35-27 over Coosa Christian and 41-12 over Meek. They finished the regular season 7-3 and set up a road play-off game at Marion County where they lost 49-21. They lost two three-point games during the regular season and could have easily been 9-1 at season’s end.

Low Point: The season finale of 2016 was a 50-24 loss at Gaylesville and the Thunder had lost at home 55-12 to Spring Garden and 41-12 to Cedar Bluff the previous two weeks. The season ended with that three-game losing streak and was to be their final season of the decade.
Home Record: The Thunder finished the decade with a winning 18-17 record at home. The last home win was 28-21 over Woodville on Sept. 6, 2016. Their best home year was 4-1 in 2010, when they allowed only 15 points a game, while scoring 34 points a game.
Away Record: The Thunder was 10-25 on the road during the decade. They were a decade best 3-3 in 2010 and outscored their opponents by an average of two points a game.
Play-Offs: The 2010 and 2014 teams made the play-offs. Both times they scored 21 points, but gave up 49 points to Marion County and 54 points to Hubbertville.
Streaks: The 2012 lost seven straight and the 2013 team lost six straight, but around those streaks the Thunder managed to post identical 3-7 records. 
Coaches: Tommy Miller is the only coach the Thunder has ever had since its football inception in 1991. Chad Goss and Miller teamed up in 2005 to co-coach. Miller won 119 games and lost 121 games during his tenure.
Players: Quarterback Daylon Brackett was All-State in 2013 and 2014 as the Thunder averaged over 33 points a game. At the time of his senior year he was one of only eight players in AHSAA history to account for 100 career touchdowns and one of only five with 100 TDs and 9,000 all-purpose yards.
Toughest Opponent: Donoho, Cedar Bluff, Spring Garden and Valley Head all went 5-0 against the Thunder in the decade. The Thunder was 28-22 against everyone else.
Easiest Opponent: The Wildcats posted six wins against the Alabama School for the Deaf and had only one loss. They defeated Coosa Christian four times and were 2-0 against Jefferson Christian.

Best Offense: The 2014 team (4-7) averaged over 33 points a game, with 56 points coming against ASD and 47 points against Waterloo.  
Best Defense: The best defense goes to the 2010 team as they only allowed 18 points a game overall and only 15 points a game during the regular season. 
Best Team: The 2010 team had the best record of the decade (7-4) and the best defense of the decade

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