Jacksonville won its second consecutive Class 4A, Region 5 game, improving to 2-1 in region contests, with its 31-12 road victory over Anniston last Friday. The Golden Eagles are now 2-3 overall and will attempt to reach .500 on the season when they host Loachapoka for homecoming Friday.
Jacksonville had an open date following last year’s Anniston game. Eagles coach Clint Smith felt that his team somewhat lost its edge because of the open date. When Smith looked for an additional opponent for 2017, Class 1A Loachapoka was the only team looking for a midseason game.
Smith said Monday morning that the Indians have speed and athleticism on both offense and defense.
“They’ve got a very athletic quarterback and a speedy running back and receiver, decent size up front but the thing that jumps out for them is their speed and athleticism,” Smith said.
In Smith’s mind, the play of offensive linemen Jonathan Parker at center, guards Cole Gaddy and Jacob Skala and tackles Braeden Hodge and Cam Parker turned the game against Anniston in Jacksonville’s favor.
“I thought that we were able to block them up front,” Smith said. “We knew that they were quick and fast up front and I was really pleased with how our offensive linemen were able to sustain blocks and to open up the holes for our backs.”
Two first-half touchdowns by Josh Glass carried Jacksonville to a 14-6 halftime lead over Anniston. Glass scored first on a 5-yard run with 9:41 still to play in the first quarter. The extra point by Preston Harvey, who was 4-for-4 on PATs for the game, made it 7-0.
Anniston threatened to tie the score with a 72-yard touchdown pass at 3:50 of the first quarter but Jalen Trueblood blocked the extra point attempt to keep Jacksonville up 7-6. Glass scored on a 2-yard run with 20 seconds left in the first half.
Smith credited safety James Johnson with the defensive play of the game in the third quarter. He said the Bulldogs attempted a pass off a double reverse and that the receiver appeared to be open when the throw was made. Instead, Johnson hustled into position to make a play on the ball.
“That could have been a big play for them but he made an interception. That was his third interception in three games,” Smith said.
Midway through the third quarter, Macey Carr scored on a 1-yard run. With 2:03 left in the third, Harvey booted a 28-yard field goal and Jacksonville led 24-6. Ron Wiggins pushed the Eagles ahead 31-6 when he scored on a 51-yard run with 5:32 to play. Anniston’s final points came on a 1-yard run with 2:48 to go. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Carr ran 18 times for 148 yards. Wiggins gained 56 yards on two carries. Tahj Kirkland had 12 carries for 36 yards.
Quarterback Colton Clark was 9-for-12 passing for 82 yards and four first downs without an interception. Glass had two receptions for 32 yards. Cade Landers had one catch for 18 yards. Jewels Gray caught two passes for 18 yards and Jakobie Calloway had four catches for 14 yards.
Ben Patterson had two quarterback sacks among his seven tackles to pace the defense. Calloway also made seven tackles. Kirkland and Glass each made four tackles. Josh Bell’s three tackles included two sacks. Taye Loud made three tackles with one sack and another behind the line. Omarion Adams had three stops including one for lost yards. Both of Blake Morris’ tackles resulted in losses. Johnson and Jamel Mays each made two tackles with one behind the line. Jaeden Barksdale, Jaquavius Jones and Jackson Moses each had two tackles.