Tuning up for Friday’s road game against the Cherokee County Warriors, the game that will decide the Class 4A, Region 5 championship, Jacksonville dominated White Plains 60-20 at home last Friday. The Golden Eagles improved to 8-0 overall and 6-0 in Region 5.

Cherokee County, which lost its first two games of the season to non-region opponents Rockmart (Ga.) and Piedmont, defeated Ashville 57-22 last Friday for its seventh consecutive victory. The Warriors have the same 6-0 Region 5 record as the Golden Eagles.  

Friday’s game at Centre completes region games for each team. Friday’s winner will be the Region 5 champion and the loser will be the Region 5 runner-up.     

Against White Plains, Jacksonville opened the scoring with 7:15 left in the first quarter on a 42-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colton Clark to Taye Ackles. The first of six extra points by Preston Harvey made it 7-0. Five minutes later, Niko Richmond scored on a 12-yard run for a 14-0 lead.

The Eagles padded their 14-0 first-quarter lead with three touchdowns in the second quarter. Three minutes into the quarter, Tahj Kirkland intercepted a pass at the White Plains 42-yard line and returned it for a touchdown.

More bad news followed for White Plains. The Wildcats fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Jalen Trueblood recovered the loose ball at the White Plains 19. Clark made the mistake costly with a 14-yard scoring strike to T.J. Carr for a 28-0 advantage.

With 40 seconds left before halftime, Richmond scored on a 19-yard run. Harvey’s kick was blocked but Jacksonville led 34-0 at intermission.    

The Eagles needed less than two minutes to score the first touchdown of the third quarter. Ackles scored from 44 yards out with 10:37 still on the clock and Harvey added the extra point. Midway through the third, freshman running back Rontarius Wiggins added a 41-yard touchdown run and Harvey converted his final extra point attempt for a 48-0 advantage.  

White Plains finally scored with 1:21 left in the third. When the Wildcats kicked off they couldn’t corral Wiggins who returned the kick for an 86-yard score and a 54-7 lead. White Plains scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter with Trueblood blocking the extra point after the second.

With just more than a minute left in the contest, Jacksonville had the ball at the White Plains 5 and head coach Clint Smith inserted senior K.J. Satcher, a four-year starter as a lineman, into the game at running back. Satcher scored on the next snap to make the final 60-20.

Satcher was the ninth Jacksonville player to run the ball. Ackles led on the ground with 91 yards on nine carries. Wiggins picked up 67 yards on seven attempts. Richmond ran six times for 59 yards. Nie’dale Archie gained 38 yards on three carries. Luke Jackson, another freshman, had 15 yards on one carry.

Clark was 6-for-12 passing for 91 yards without an interception. Trueblood was 1-for-2 for 10 yards and Jackson was 0-for-1. Seven players had one catch each. Ackles’ 42-yard touchdown was the long catch of the night. Nick Gangwer and Jecorean Williams had first-down receptions. Gangwer’s covered 20 yards and Williams’ 15. Carr’s 14-yard touchdown was next in distance and Ben Patterson had a 10-yard reception.

Five of the Wildcats’ possessions ended with a punt after three snaps failed to pick up first-down yardage. Gangwer and James Johnson each had six tackles to lead the defense. Gangwer’s included one of Jacksonville’s two quarterback sacks. Tae Loud had the other sack. Avory Cosby made five tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.

Williams, Archie and Trey Harris each made four stops. Harris had one tackle for lost yards and forced a fumble. Williams deflected a pass. Patterson, Josh Glass, Josh Bell, Alex Davis and Cederick Woolverton had two tackles apiece. One of Bell’s was behind the line. Mak Curry also made a tackle for loss.