E.A. Sports Today

Saks strikes swiftly

Wildcats quickly convert turnovers into points, blank B.B. Comer 28-0 for first shutout of the season

Saks’ Trent Hopkins (7) hauls in the pass from quarterback Gavin Doss (cover) and heads for the end zone with his long touchdown reception following his fumble recovery the previous play. (Photos by Bo Hudgins/Sakssportsphotography.com)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

How many times have you seen it on TV? A football team’s defense gets a turnover and as soon as the offense takes the field it goes up top for a touchdown.

Now, how many times have you seen the same player get the turnover and then the ensuing touchdown? It’s kind of like a baseball player making a great catch in the outfield and then leading off the inning when his team comes to bat.

Saks’ Trent Hopkins was on the end of that daily double Friday night. He recovered a B.B. Comer fumble near midfield late in the second quarter and on the Wildcats’ next play from scrimmage he hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Doss.

It was one of the many highlights in Saks’ 28-0 victory at Jack Stewart Field.

“During a sudden change like that, that’s a great time to take a shot,” Saks coach Jonathan Miller said after career win No. 97. “Sometimes the opponent’s deflated a little bit, so we took a shot there.

“I’ll be honest, it’s a feel thing, really, for me. Sometimes if I know I’ve got something that’s going to be open and it’s a good time to hit them with it, I like to do it at that point. If the time and situation call for it and you’ve got something you like it’s a great time to throw it in there.”

The Wildcats were already leading 14-0 and not giving the Tigers very much at all. Facing a third-and-17 after their completion lost six yards, quarterback Devin Harvey swung a pass out to Richard Weed. The sophomore was met by several Saks defenders. The ball came loose and Hopkins was there to fall on it.

On the first play back on offense, Doss found Hopkins wide open and dropped in a perfect strike that his receiver took home untouched.

“That was probably one of our best executed plays all night,” Miller said. “Trent ran a great route. Gavin threw a great ball. We protected. Just a great play by our kids.”

“It felt great, but I couldn’t have done it without my team,” Hopkins said. “I needed the blocks and, for Gavin, that was a great pass. It just feels great to get a touchdown.”

“It’s a very good moment to know that we capitalize off the other team’s mistakes and we put points on the board,” Doss said, “because they’re the plays that win games.”

Actually, Hopkins was around the ball all night. He had two fumble recoveries to go along with his touchdown. Doss also ran for a touchdown, juking several defenders in the open field and again down near the goal line, and Keondre Johnson ran for the Wildcats’ other two scores.

Johnson rushed for 67 yards and 13 carries over three quarters; he scored on runs of 27 and 3 yards. Dorrien Walker rushed for 92 yards – 66 in the fourth quarter – and had the Wildcats knocking on the door of another score at the end of the game when they ran out the clock. 

Comer’s fortunes turned sour early on. Workhorse Kamore Harris sustained an injury to an already sore left ankle on his first carry of the night and did not play the rest of the game. It seriously impacted the sixth-ranked 2A Tigers’ ability to move the ball.

The Wildcats (4-2) held them to 66 yards in the first half, 78 yards through three quarters and  only 114 total. The Tigers (4-2) did have two reasonably sustained drives at the end of each half — the first time one ran out of time and the second ran out of downs.

The shutout was their first of the season.

“Any time you get a shutout your defense has played great,” Miller said. “Look, they’ve got a lot of weapons. They had one go out fairly early, but they’ve got a lot of speed and a lot of weapons. Our defense has really been progressing throughout the season and we’ve gotten a lot better and just continued that tonight.”

The Tigers completed only two passes in the first half and both met with disastrous results – one lost six yards and the other resulted in Hopkins’ fumble recovery.

COMER (0)SAKS (28)
71st Downs15
26Passing yds87
B.B. Comer (4-2)0000 –0
Saks (4-2)71470 –28

S – Keondre Johnson 27 run (Erick Escandon kick), 7:32 1Q
S – Gavin Doss 50 run (Erick Escandon kick), 7:46 2Q
S – Trent Hopkins 48 pass from Gavin Doss (Erick Escandon kick), 2:23 2Q
S – Keondre Johnson 3 run (Erick Escandon kick), 1:15 3Q

Saks defenders Mykese Gaffney (10) and Justin Cooper bring down B.B. Comer’s Kamore Harris on the running back’s first carry of the night. Harris hurt his ankle on the play and didn’t return to the game. (Photo by Bo Hudgins/sakssportsphotography.com)

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