E.A. Sports Today

A look back – Jacksonville

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 QB 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 – Golden Eagles Golden Era

Summary: The Jacksonville Golden Eagles enjoyed their winningest decade in history. After a 4-16 start, Coach Clint Smith came over from Saks and guided the Golden Eagles to a 67-27 finish to the decade and a trip to the state championship game in 2019 where they lost to UMS-Wright. Their last winning decade before this was the 1950s.
The Golden Eagles will be riding a 20-game region winning streak when they enter the 2020 season and have won 26 of their last 28 region games. The 2018 team was only the second Jacksonville team to ever go undefeated during the regular season (10-0). The other was in 1920 (6-0-1).
The improvement in the decade is evidenced by the fact that in 2010 the Golden Eagles set a school record for most points allowed in a season (412) to 2019 where they set the school record for most points scored in a season. It has indeed been the best of times in Jacksonville football history in the past decade under the direction of head coach Clint Smith.
High Point: The high point had to be the excitement of making the state championship game in 2019 and when Ron Wiggins broke off an early long touchdown run in the title game to give the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead.
Low Point: The ninth game of the 2011 season was a low point as the Golden Eagles fell to Anniston 47-14. It left them 1-8 during the season and they had lost 16 of 19 games.
Home Record: The Golden Eagles were 38-20 at home during the decade and 36-12 under Smith. They have won 23 of their last 26 home games entering 2020. They were a perfect 5-0 in 2018. 
Away Record: Jacksonville finished the decade with a 33-22 road record, 31-14 under Smith. Five of those losses were in the play-offs.
Play-Offs: The Golden Eagles were 8-7 in the play-offs during the last decade.  The 2019 was very impressive as they beat Cordova 55-26, St John Paul II 56-22, Northside 63-27 and Anniston 34-13, before falling 28-17 to UMS-Wright in the finals.
Streaks: The Golden Eagles have had eight straight winning seasons, a school record, and seven straight trips to the play-offs, another school record. They are also riding a 20-game region winning streak.
Coaches: Roland Houston (4-16) was the coach in 2010 and 2011. Clint Smith has been there ever since compiling a crisp 67-27 mark. He needs nine wins in 2020 to become the all-time winningest coach in Jacksonville history. He trails Ernest Norman who was 76-52-11 from 1948 to 1962. 
Players: Five Golden Eagle players made all-state in 2019 – wide receiver Jaden Barksdale, linebacker Omarion Adams, offensive lineman Omaurion Pope, running back Rontarious Wiggins and defensive back Yessman Green. Wiggins set Calhoun County’s single-season rushing record and was the Class 4A Back of the Year.
Adams and Wiggins were also selections in 2018 along with offensive lineman Cole Gaddy and wide receiver Jewels Gray. Linebacker Josh Glass (2017), running back Macy Carr (2017), kicker Preston Harvey (2017), offensive lineman K.J. Satcher (2016), athlete Niko Richmond (2016), linebacker Savon Parker (2013,2014), athlete Sid Thurmond (2014) and offensive lineman Taylor Warner (2010) make up the rest of the Golden Eagles’ roster of the decade’s all-state players.
Toughest Opponent:Alexandria defeated the Golden Eagles six times during the decade, while losing four. Cleburne County (5-3) gave the Golden Eagles a particularly hard time during the decade.
Easiest Opponent:The Golden Eagles had good decades against Hokes Bluff (8-0), White Plains (6-0), Weaver (4-0) and Pleasant Valley (4-0). They were 7-2 against Anniston as well, including the win that sent them into the 2019 state title game.
Best Offense: The 2019 team set the school record for points scored in a season with 607 points. This was an average of 40.5 points a game. The Golden Eagles averaged 59 points a game in their first three play-off games and they were clicking on all cylinders at the season’s end.
Best Defense: The 2014 team had the best defense of the decade, only allowing 17.1 points per game. They held four region opponents to seven or fewer points in a game.
Best Team: The 2019 squad was a team for the ages as they made the first trip to the state championship game in school history. They averaged 40 points a game, while allowing just 23 points a game. They were a perfect 7-0 in a very tough region and had to beat a good Anniston team twice during the season to get to the championship game. Their 12 wins were the most in school history.
2020 Jacksonville Schedule
(Pre-pandemic, opponent 2019 records in parenthesis)
Aug. 21 – vs. St John Paul III (9-3)
Aug. 28 – at Alexandria (8-3)
Sept. 4 – vs. Anniston (9-5)
Sept. 11 – at White Plains (3-7)
Sept. 18 –
Sept. 25 – at Piedmont (14-1)
Oct. 2 – at Handley (7-5)
Oct. 9 –
Oct. 16 –
Oct. 23 – at Cherokee Co. (6-4)
Oct. 30 –

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