E.A. Sports Today

A look back – Saks

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. 

Saks Enjoys Best Decade in School History

Summary: Despite a 4-5 season in 2010 and a 4-5 season in 2019, the Saks Wildcats had their best decade in school history by a large margin. They went 83-31 in the decade. This beat the old record of 51 wins that was set in the 1970’s. The Wildcats welcomed Coach Jonathan Miller in 2012 and he finished out the decade with a 72-22 record. The 72 wins made Miller the all-time winningest coach in Saks history. He is now two games better than Jack Stewart’s 70-40-4 record.
The Wildcats set a school record for points scored in 2013 with 595 points. The only losing season that Miller had in his first eight years was 2019 and his team was severely handicapped when he lost his starting quarterback early in the season.
There were two trips to the state semi-finals in 2013 and 2018 with losses to Madison County and Randolph Co, respectively. The Wildcats also set a school record with 8 consecutive winning seasons and were 56-16 in region play.
High Point: The Saks team of 2013 reeled off their first 10-0 regular season in history. The 1968 team went 9-0 in the regular season. There were three straight play-off wins over Good Hope, Lauderdale County and Colbert County. Perhaps the Wildcats best win was a 40-15 thrashing of Piedmont during the regular season.
Low Point: The low point was losing four straight games to end the 2010 season at 4-5. They lost to Glencoe 35-7, Weaver 21-13, Piedmont 17-0 and Clay County 28-9.
Home Record: The Wildcats were 43-15 at home during the decade. They were a perfect 8-0 in 2017 and 6-0 in 2014. The only losing record at home during the decade was 2019 when the Wildcats finished 2-3.
Away Record: The only losing road season in the decade was in 2010, when the Wildcats were 2-3. Overall they were an impressive 40-16 on the road.
Play-Offs: The Wildcats were 10-8 in the play-offs in the decade. They won at least one game in five of the eight play-off appearances.
Streaks: The Wildcats won 17 straight regular season home games from 2012 to 2015 and 11 in a row from 2016 to 2018.  
Coaches: Clint Smith was the head coach at the start of the decade and was 11-9 in 2010 and 2011 before moving to Jacksonville. Jonathan Miller began in 2012 and remains the head coach entering the 2020 season.
Players: The all-state players were numerous with 19 selections over the years. Running back Jonathan Cobb and defensive lineman were selections in 2017 and 2018. Kicker Anthony Cornejo and offensive lineman Jaylon Childs were also 2018 selections. Defensive back Amarea Abney, offensive lineman Dawson Wells, offensive lineman Jordan Brooks, linebacker Kaynan Mays and quarterback LaDerrick Bell were all-state selections in 2017.
Running back Calvin Figueroa (2015), offensive lineman Austin Kilgore (2013,2014), quarterback Devin Harris (2014), offensive lineman Monty Young, quarterback Tre Smith (2013) and defensive lineman Vincent Hillard (2013) were other all-state selections in the decade.
Toughest Opponent: There were only 23 regular season losses during the decade but four of them came against Piedmont (2-4) and Wellborn (4-4). They were 0-2 against Randolph County and Clay County.
Easiest Opponent: Saks had the easiest time with White Plains during the decade with an 8-0 record and outscoring those Wildcats 346-59. Saks was 6-0 against Hokes Bluff and 5-1 against Glencoe and Jacksonville.
Best Offense: Saks put some points on the board in the decade. They had their three highest scoring seasons ever from 2014 to 2016. The 2015 team averaged 43 points a game and outscored Jacksonville 63-36 and Lafayette 63-34 to end their regular season. They were held under 30 points only twice in the season.
Best Defense: The defense only allowed over 20 points a game three times in the decade. The 2018 team was the best as they only allowed 13.1 points a game. They recorded three shutouts and if you take out a 41-21 loss to Randolph County, they only gave up 10.5 points a game. 
Best Team: The 2013 Wildcats went 13-1 and averaged 42.5 points per game, while allowing 15.4 points a game. They had a 10-0 regular season and their closest game was a 39-28 win over Glencoe.
2020 Saks Schedule
(Pre-pandemic, opponent 2019 record in parenthesis)
Aug. 21 – vs Sylvania (7-4)
Aug. 28 – vs Talladega (6-5)
Sept. 4 – at Piedmont (14-1)
Sept. 11 –
Sept. 18 – vs Ohatchee (10-1)
Sept. 25 – at Geraldine (8-5)
Oct. 2 –
Oct. 9 –
Oct. 16 – at Glencoe (1-9)
Oct. 23 – vs Hokes Bluff (7-4)
Oct. 30 – vs White Plains (3-7)

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