E.A. Sports Today

Jett on another plane

Senior quarterback rushes for 296 yards, two long touchdowns, as No. 2 Wellborn rolls past Hokes Bluff

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HOKES BLUFF – Jett Smith didn’t know how close he was to a milestone. Neither did his dad. The senior quarterback just knew he was having a good game.

For the second time in his career Smith came close to rushing for 300 yards, but he still did plenty Thursday night to lead No. 2 Wellborn past Hokes Bluff 33-9 and keep it on track for a date in the region championship game.

Smith rushed for 296 yards on 18 carries and scored on runs of 77 and 68 yards. He did get over 300 yards in offense with a 9-yard pass completion.

“I knew I was having a good game, but I had no idea I was that close,” he said. “But it really doesn’t matter to me. I’m so happy we got this win. It sets us up for a region championship. We played great on both sides of the football and everybody just played a real good game.”

He set the tone for a big night early. His first carry of the game went for 34 yards and he had 241 yards in the first half with runs of 34, 31, 77 and 68, many of which came after breaking two and three tackles to get into the open field. He had 290 yards with four minutes left in the third quarter, but had only two carries the rest of the game before coming out midway in the fourth quarter.

“When I get the ball I’m fighting as hard as I can,” he said. “Even when I’m tired, when that ball gets to my hands all that goes away and I just starting running the best I can.”

“He reminds me of my son-in-law, who was our quarterback in the (2001) state championship, Jake Ball,” Hokes Bluff coach Mike Robertson said. “Jake was a little bigger than him, but you can’t tackle him one-on-one. He’s a special player.”

Smith’s previous single-game best was 280 yards against Lincoln last year.

Wellborn stat man David “Wormy” Haynes has seen every game since 1962 and he couldn’t remember the Panthers having a 300-yard rusher in a game. Of course, a dedicated film review over the weekend could net Smith the yards to take him over the top.

Had he gotten to the 300-yard mark, Wellborn would have rushed for more than 500 yards as a team. Calvin Spinks had 100 yards and two touchdowns and Jesse Lewis had 79 yards.

It was the Panthers’ first win ever over Hokes Bluff (they’ve only met five times). Their No. 2 ranking in Class 3A is their highest statewide ranking since being No. 2 this week in 1995. They are riding a nine-game regular-season winning streak

If they beat winless Weaver next week they’re guaranteed a first-round home playoff game and will play Piedmont for the Class 3A Region 5 title the following week. They are currently one game ahead of Ohatchee, a team they beat in overtime, and a game and a half ahead of Piedmont, which lost to Ohatchee last week and plays Pleasant Valley Friday.

“Here’s the deal,” Panthers coach Jeff Smith said. “I’m very proud of the kids for going on the road on a short week and getting a win against a very quality football team that has a very good program. As far as the stats go, I had no idea what they were during the game I was just focused on a good game.”

Wellborn 33, Hokes Bluff 9
Wellborn               12  7  7   7   –   33
Hokes Bluff           0    3   6  0   –   9
W – Calvin Spinks 13 run (kick failed), 6:37 1Q
W – Jett Smith 77 run (run failed), 0:54 1Q
HB – Jadan Burns 37 FG, 7:15 2Q
W – Jett Smith 68 run (Brandon Morales kick), 6:48 2Q
HB – Noah Sprayberry 3 run (pass failed), 6:24 3Q
W – Jesse Lewis 69 run (Brandon Morales kick), 6:04 3Q
W – Calvin Spinks 2 run (Brandon Morales kick), 9:54 4Q

Well (7-0, 5-0)HB (4-3, 3-2)
191st Downs12
9Passing yds58

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