E.A. Sports Today

Friday football

Alexandria still in good place despite loss to Vols, Jacksonville wakes up late against Ohatchee, White Plains falls to Hokes Bluff

By East Alabama Sports Today

LINEVILLE – Alexandria football coach Todd Ginn said way back in the season opener that he’d be able to tell how prepared his Valley Cubs were for the stretch run by the time they got to the Clay Central game in the dead middle of the schedule.

Even though his team lost that pivot game Friday night 21-7, Ginn can happily report his Valley Cubs are right where they need to be heading into the second half of the season.

“I knew going into this game where we’re going to be,” Ginn said. “No matter what’s happened the first part of the season, if we’re playing well when this game’s over with we’re still going to have a chance the second half.

“Well, we beat Lincoln and Springville (in the meantime), so we’ve got a chance to get in the playoffs already. We’re right where we need to be as far as our region. We’ve still got a chance to try to win the thing.

“Tonight, I knew going on the road at a place that’s a lot like us I knew it would be a good test for us. I saw some good things tonight. I think we’re where we need to be and we can still reach all the goals that we have, which I was worried about at the beginning of the year.”

The teams were locked in a scoreless battle in the first half, although with a little luck the Cubs probably could’ve had the lead.

They had a couple chances to seize the upper hand in the first half, but some type of misstep kept them from converting. On their first drive of the second half they faced a fourth-and-3 from too close to punt and just a tad too far outside of kicker Cleat Forrest’s considerable range. So, they went for it and Ty Barker threw a pass right on the money that just slipped through Ty Brown’s grasp.

Barker completed 10 of 23 passes in the game for 154 yards. TK Downey caught five balls for 61 yards.

“We’d get down in their territory and shot ourselves in the foot … and with the grind out type team we have this year, we can’t have that kind of stuff,” Ginn said. “It was all self-inflicted.”

The Vols (3-2) came out the second half unbalanced and ran to the weak side. The Valley Cubs (2-3) didn’t play well defensively for about six minutes, missing tackles on each side of the field that led to touchdowns, and that proved to be the difference in the game.

Even though they were down three scores they kept fighting to get in the end zone and Antonio Ross finally crashing through from the 1 with just under four minutes to play. Ross, the Cubs’ workhorse, rushed for 94 yards on 29 carries and caught three passes for 84 yards.

“I felt like if we ever got ahead of them, if we could have ever put pressure on them we’d be OK,” Ginn said. “But we didn’t quit and quit playing. We’re not going to give up until the horn goes off. Even though it was 21-7 we were trying to do what we would normally do if we had to go score.”

ALEX (7)HB (30)
151st Downs9
115Passing yds23
Alexandria (2-3)0007 —7
Clay Central (3-2)00210 —21

C – Terry Heflin 15 run (Dylan Davis kick), 8:14 3Q
C – Terry Heflin 72 run (kick blocked), 3:20 3Q
C – Damion Cosby 3 run (Ladamion Boyd two-point conversion), 1:53 3Q
A – Antonio Ross 1 run (Cleat Forrest kick), 3:55 4Q

Jacksonville 35, Ohatchee 6

JACKSONVILLE — The Golden Eagles overcome a sluggish first half to pull away from winless Ohatchee.

Jacksonville overcame a season-low 126 passing yards from Jim Ogle (third lowest in his career) by outscoring the visitors 28-6 in the second half. The junior quarterback completed 5-of-7 passes for 58 yards in the first half, scoring only once while being intercepted for the third time this season. He was 13-of-18 for the game.

“We had just four possession in the first half,” said Coach Clint Smith. 

The Golden Eagles’ defense struggled to get off the field against Ohatchee early on, as the Indians converted three fourth downs on their opening drive. Despite dominating time of possession, Ohatchee didn’t register any points, as the Golden Eagles defense, led by Charlie Wright, held firm.

Wright had a team-high nine tackles. Darel Atkinson Jr. had only three tackles, but two were sacks, and he tipped three passes.

“Defense played well all night long,” said Smith. “I was proud of our defense for keeping them out of the end zone. We bent but didn’t break.”

Led by G Turner’s 20 carries and 190 rushing yards, the Jacksonville running game dominated the second half. The Golden Eagles scored on four of their final five possessions against a tired Ohatchee defense. Two of their top weapons, Kydric Fisher and Zay English, came out of the game in the first half with injuries.

“Our offense made some big plays to get points on the board,” Smith said, quickly turning toward getting back to region play. “We get back into region play with two big region games (at Cleburne County and Munford). We just got to continue to get better and see what we can come up with.”

Colby Hester scored Ohatchee’s touchdown on a 54-yard pass from Bryce Noah. Hester also made a great interception on a jump ball. — Mark Everett Kelly

Ohatchee (0-6)0006 —6
Jacksonville (4-2)07721 —35

J – Damonte Sinclair 8 pass from Jim Ogle (Mason Terrell kick), 10:46 2Q
J – G Turner 1 run (Mason Terrell kick), 4:19 3Q
J – G Turner 15 run (Mason Terrell kick), 11:06 4Q
J – Drew Pridgen 2 pass from Jim Ogle (Mason Terrell kick), 7:19 4Q
O – Colby Hester 54 pass from Bryce Noah (PAT failed), 6:33 4Q
J – G Turner 14 run (Mason Terrell kick), 2:10 4Q

Hokes Bluff 30, White Plains 16

HOKES BLUFF — Noah Sprayberry rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries and Kaleb Coshatt returned an interception for a score to help the Eagles remain unbeaten in the all-time series (9-0).

The Wildcats took a 9-7 lead midway through the second quarter on a safety, but the Eagles scored the next 23 points into the fourth quarter to pull away. Leon Chen’s 29-yard field goal about a minute before halftime gave Hokes Bluff the lead for good and Conner Masters’ 13-yard touchdown pass to Anderson Morgan with 15 seconds left in the second quarter gave the Eagles a 17-9 halftime lead. Sprayberry scored on runs on 1 and 12 yards.

WP (16)HB (30)
91st Downs15
90Passing yds51
White Plains (1-4)7207 —16
Hokes Bluff (3-2)71076 —30

HB – Noah Sprayberry 1 run (Leon Chen kick), 5:00 1Q
WP – 3 run (Brodie Wesley kick), 1:47 1Q
WP – Safety, 6:08 2Q
HB – Leon Chen 29 FG, 1:07 2Q
HB – Anderson Morgan 13 pass from Conner Masters (Leon Chen kick), 0:15 2Q
HB – Kaleb Coshatt interception return (Leon Chen kick), 7:09 3Q
HB – Noah Sprayberry 12 run (Leon Chen kick), 10:34 4Q
WP – Wade Thompson 3 run (Brodie Wesley kick), 7:25 4Q

Jacksonville Christian 53, East Central 42

Senior Jordan Garner stepped in for injured Noah Lee at quarterback in the first half and completed eight of 13 passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns and ran for other two scores to help keep the Thunder undefeated. Lee was 6-of-12 for 91 yards with two touchdowns and remained interception-free throw through 147 pass attempts this season before hurting his wrist on the first play of the second quarter.

Travis Barnhill had four catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards and a score. Ethan Fair had four catches for 76 yards and a score. Braxton Brown caught six passes for 99 yards.

Lee and his Thunder teammates have an open week to rest before hosting Russell to determine the top two seeds in their eight-man playoffs.

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