JACKSONVILLE — By the halftime of Jacksonville’s 55-26 win over Cordova, “Jacksonville scored,” had become a scheduled post on social media.
The Golden Eagles scored so much they set a school record for most points scored in a playoff game, eclipsing the 49 they scored at Locust Fork in 2014 and against D.A.R. in 2013.
“We had some big plays tonight,” Jacksonville head coach Clint Smith said after the Class 4A first-round victory. “We have some playmakers and when you put the ball into their hands, they do a great job. The offensive line did a really good job of blocking.
“This was the first game we’ve played in 15 days and that was a concern coming in. But, we got to ticking right there in the first quarter and was really just able to do things that we needed to.”
Jacksonville running back Ron Wiggins opened the scoring fest when he capped a five-play drive with a 36-yard rushing touchdown less than four minutes into the game. Wiggins went on to carry the load for the Golden Eagles as the senior finished with 215 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns on only 10 attempts. He had 108 rushing yards and three touchdowns on seven carries by halftime, before adding runs of 20, 31 and 56 throughout the second half.
But Wiggins shared the love, too, and in the second quarter, sophomore Taj Morris got into the end zone, too, from 2 yards out.
“Ron is special,” Smith said. “His offensive line did a great job blocking for him, and he’s got a great supporting cast. He’s very talented and a special athlete, and you can see that when he gets into the open field. He’s just outstanding, but he has a lot of teammates that block for him and set him free on those long runs.”
What to know
—On the night, Jacksonville ran 33 offensive plays (13 in the first quarter, five in the second, 11 in the third, and four in the fourth).
—Before his 61-yard punt return for a touchdown, Yessman Green actually helped Cordova move the sticks when he was flagged for offsides as the Blue Devils were lining up to punt on fourth down. Cordova’s drive eventually stalled after seven more plays, which is when Green picked up the punt and returned it for a score.
—Cordova spent much of the game without its starting backfield as senior running back Justin Wallace was ejected for throwing a punch with 4:33 left in the game’s opening quarter. The Blue Devils’ starting quarterback, senior Kason Smith, went out with an injury at the 6:48 mark of the second quarter and did not return to the game.
—Smith on avenging Jacksonville’s 2016 playoff loss to Cordova: “Some of our guys were ninth graders when that happened and probably weren’t on the field a lot, but there was talk about it because they remember the game. But, overall, I don’t think it really played into tonight’s game.”
—Wiggins on his performance: “We had a game plan and we just came out and executed. The (offensive line) gave me some big holes and I have to give all the credit to them.”
—Charles Cox on his 18-yard interception return for a touchdown: “They tipped the ball, and I got it and just ran into the end zone. That’s about it. It felt pretty good.”
—Jacksonville (9-2) will travel to St. John Paul II (9-2) in the second round of the Class 4A football playoffs next week.