E.A. Sports Today

Menu of mistakes

Series of setbacks sends Oxford to 34-2 loss to Pinson Valley, ending the Yellow Jackets’ hopes of repeating as state champions

Saraland 46, Opelika 27
Spanish Fort 24, Blount 14
Pinson Valley 34, Oxford 2
Mountain Brook 21, Clay-Chalkville 10

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

PINSON – Keith Etheredge summed up the night in one simple sentence:

“Everything that could go wrong went wrong,” the Oxford head coach said after his top-ranked Yellow Jackets were thumped by Pinson Valley 34-2 in the Class 6A quarterfinals Friday night.

He was referring to a menu of mistakes – four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown and two inside the Indians 15), one fumble on a punt return inside their own 8 (leading to an easy touchdown), seven quarterback sacks, 13 penalties for 113 yards, three long plays called back on penalties, jumping offsides on fourth down and a roughing the kicker penalty.

And then there was that illegal motion penalty on Pinson Valley on an Indian punt in which the snap went over the punter’s ahead the Jackets probably would have scored a touchdown on, and getting inside the Indians 40 six times without getting any points.

Put that all together with a brilliant defensive scheme by Indian coach Sam Slade and the Jackets were in for a long night.

The Indians got their first break early when Trequon Fegans fumbled a punt at his own 8. Two plays later Michael Sharp scored from six yards out and the Indians led 7-0.

Pinson Valley got it back and scored quickly on a 25-yard pass from quarterback Zach Pyron to GaQuincy “Koolaid” McInstry. Two plays later, Oxford quarterback Trey Higgins had a pass batted in the air that was returned 25 yards by Clavion Burnhart for a stunning touchdown to put the Indians up 21-0 early in the second quarter.

Oxford pinned Pinson Valley deep inside its own after a punt on their next possessios. Indians center Carson Moorer snapped the ball out of the end zone for a Yellow Jackets safety – their only points of the game. 

It’s the first time in Etheredge’s two season at Oxford the Yellow Jackets have been held without a touchdown and the first time since a 2015 shutout by Opelika they were held to fewer than six points.
“They shut down the inside on us and their defensive backs had great coverage,” Etheredge said. “Trey was running for his life all night long and just had no time to throw the ball.”

Pinson Valley added two field goals and held a 27-2 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Oxford had three more possessions that saw it get inside the Pinson Valley 15 only to make mistakes and penalties that cost them scoring chances.

The loss snapped Oxford’s 11-game winning streak.

“I hate if for our kids,” Etheredge said. “Things don’t go the way we want them to all the time. That is just lessons in life. We will lose a lot of great skill players, but for the kids coming back, we just got to go to work and get ready for the next game.”

And that would be sometime next August.

Pinson Vallley 34, Oxford 2
Oxford                  0   2     0    0 –  2
Pinson Valley      7   17   3    7  –  34

PV – Michael Sharp 6 run (Zac McCray kick), 7:34 1Q
PV – GaQuincy McInstry 25 pass from Zach Pyron (Zac McCray kick), 11:15 2Q
PV – Julian Peterson 25 fumble return (Zac McCray kick), 9:10 2Q
O – Safety, ball snapped out of end zone, 5:28 2Q
PV – Zac McCray 34 FG, 0:00 2Q
PV – Zac McCray 32 FG, 0:43 3Q
PV – Michael Sharpe 4 run (Zac McCray kick), 3:54 4Q

Oxf (11-2)PV (10-2)
71st Downs7
125Passing yds57

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