E.A. Sports Today

Here’s to the winners

Turner’s TD with 2.5 seconds left lifts Jacksonville over Bibb County in Class 4A playoffs; Anniston, Piedmont also win playoff openers

By East Alabama Sports Today

CENTREVILLE – G Turner just didn’t want his season to end and he did everything he could to make sure he got in the end zone when his number was called and time was running out.

The Jacksonville senior running back worked his way into the end zone behind two of his biggest blockers to score with 2.5 seconds left and give the Golden Eagles a 35-28 win over senior-laden Bibb County in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs Friday night.

The touchdown capped a 14-point fourth-quarter rally. The Golden Eagles (8-3) will now host top-ranked Montgomery Catholic (11-0) in next week’s second round.

“I wasn’t ready to end my season,” Turner said. “I just knew we had playmakers on the team and we had enough time to get in the end zone. I had two of my best blockers in front of me (on the touchdown), the hole opened up pretty good and I just plunged myself in there. I was all the way in.”

It was appropriate Turner scored the winning touchdown. He carried nine times for 27 yards in the 57-yard drive that consumed 5 minutes and 8 seconds of clock.

The Golden Eagles trailed 13-7 at halftime, 21-7 after the Choctaws (7-4) returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown, and 28-21 entering the fourth quarter.

“It was a war,” Jacksonville coach Clint Smith said. “We trailed most of the game up until the end, but our guys kept fighting and kept fighting and kept fighting and gave ourselves a chance. It’s just a testament to our kids and how they showed resolve and fight and staying steady with it. We’ve been in that situation before this year, being down at the half, having to come from behind against some really good teams.

“Before that (winning) drive started, we did not want to leave them with any time left. We wanted to take the clock down and drive it down. At the end of the day we were in field goal position, so worst case scenario we kick a field goal if we needed to, but we were able to do some really good clock management there at the end.”

Turner rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries in the game. He also caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jim Ogle. All three of his touchdowns came in the second half.

“G has kind of taken ownership of our running back position,” Smith said. “He ran his tail off tonight. Our offensive line gave him some good holes, but, man, he ran with such heart and determination tonight.

“He’s a senior. These seniors, when they lose in the playoffs it’s over, so he just really did an outstanding job running with a lot of determination. I’m just proud of the way he ran and the way we were able to control that drive and control the game from five and a half/six minutes left in the fourth quarter until the time it was over.”

Will Phillips led the Jacksonville defense with 11 tackles. Dee Prothro had eight tackles, including six for loss and three sacks, and had the strip that Darel Atkinson Jr. returned 36 yards to make it 21-21 in the third quarter.

The Golden Eagles have played the No. 1 team in the state 10 times in their history (0-10). They last hosted a No. 1 last year when they lost to Handley in Week 7. They last hosted a No. 1 team in the playoffs in 2019 (UMS-Wright).

Jacksonville (8-3)071414 –35
Bibb County (7-4)76150 –28

B – Colby Collums 44 run (Blaiyz Bishop kick), 3:48 1Q
J – Kydric Fisher 26 pass from Jim Ogle (Mason Terrell kick), 11:32 2Q
B – Tyler Fielding 2 run (kick blocked), 7:05 2Q
B – Jacob Simmons 76 kickoff return (Jaison Taylor run), 11:47 3Q
J – G Turner 34 pass from Jim Ogle (Mason Terrell kick), 10:16 3Q
J – Darel Atkinson Jr. 36 fumble return (Mason Terrell kick), 5:38 3Q
B – Ethan McMillan 21 pass from Jordan Leverette (Blaiyz Bishop kick), 2:47 3Q
J – G Turner 24 run (Mason Terrell kick), 7:03 4Q
J – G Turner 2 run (Mason Terrell kick), 0:02 4Q

ANNISTON 52, SIPSEY VALLEY 0: Kam Sandlin completed 11-of-15 passes for 397 yards and four touchdowns as second-ranked Anniston remained unbeaten after its largest playoff win ever. Jaylon Cunningham had seven catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns, and Malachi Taylor rushed for 66 yards and two scores. The 52 points the Bulldogs scored are second only to the 54 they put on Dora in their 2010 playoff opener (54-8). The Bulldogs (10-0), who have posted three straight shutouts, will travel to Booker T. Washington (6-5) for next week’s second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

PIEDMONT 61, OAKMAN 0: The Bulldogs opened a 20-0 first-quarter lead before their offense found the end zone for the first time. They scored their first two touchdowns on a Cody Hollaway pick-six and Kale Austin’s return of a blocked punt. The Bulldogs (9-2) will travel to Colbert County (7-4) next week for the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.

Oakman (3-8)0000 –0
Piedmont (9-2)2021200 –61

P – Sloan Smith 21 FG, 6:12 1Q
P – Cody Hollaway 31 interception return (Sloan Smith kick), 3:48 1Q
P – Sloan Smith 26 FG, 1:20 1Q
P – Kale Austin 21 blocked punt return (Sloan Smith kick), 0:07 1Q
P – Rollie Pinto 27 pass from Jack Hayes (Sloan Smith kick), 7:53 2Q
P – Thomas Propst 19 pass from Jack Hayes (Sloan Smith kick), 5:27 2Q
P – Jack Hayes 13 run (Sloan Smith kick), 1:39 2Q
P – Sloan Smith 3 run (Sloan Smith kick), 6:43 3Q
P – Dontavious Jordan 55 run (Caden Cardelli kick)
P – Dontavious Jordan 46 run (kick failed), 1:16 3Q

Cover photo: Piedmont’s Thomas Propst hauls in a pass and prepares to turn upfield for a second-quarter touchdown. (Photo by Greg Warren)

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