OXFORD — Keith Etheredge had to school his first Oxford team on one more H-A-P-P-Y detail after the Yellow Jackets opened the Etheredge era with a 48-6 victory over Munford on Friday.
The four-time state championship coach has a postgame cheer, after a victory, and it involves dramatics. He pokes his head in the door, and players roar at the sight of him. He pokes back out and shuts the door: aww.
After a time or two of poking his head in then out, Etheredge bursts into the locker room with his signature prompt, which he used at Leeds, Pell City and T.R. Miller.
“When you come in that last time, you bring it all,” Etheredge said. “Is everybody happy? H-A-P-P-Y. Is anybody sad? Naw.”
Oxford had lots of H-A-P-P-Y points in its season-opening rout Friday.
Running back J.B. Carlisle carried 17 times for 129 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown run and conversion run.
Quarterback Trey Higgins went 8-for-10 for 86 yards, with a perfect 24-yard fade pass to the back corner of the end zone to Zay Britt. Higgins also scrambled for a 23-yard score.
Receiver Roc Taylor showed his rushing chops, scoring twice on end-arounds of 49 and 4 yards.
Traquon Fegans recovered a strip-sack fumble for a touchdown. Antwon Fegans blocked punt, which Jordan Dobbins recovered for a score.
Oxford held Munford to 21 total yards, minus-24 rushing, while gaining 283 of its 380 total yards on the ground.
How did Game 1 under Etheredge feel for the Yellow Jackets?
“We’re excited already for the next one,” said Carlisle, referring to Oxford’s home game against Gadsden City next week. “We had a lot of fun.
“Coach Etheredge is just the type of man, his happiness just spreads. It just naturally spreads, and he picks everybody up.”
Etheredge gave his postgame speech before drilling the team on the H-A-P-P-Y cheer. Next week, he hopes to do it in reverse.
“It’s just something to get the kids fired up after a win, instead of going in and giving them that same speech,” he said. “They look forward to it when you’re coming in.
“That’s the first thing they look for after that win. They’re standing there, looking at that door, waiting for you to come in. They don’t know where you’re coming. It keeps them on their toes.”
Munford’s moment came on Ja’Isiam Tuck’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Justin Sistrunk, just before halftime. Tuck scrambled to his left and launched toward the end zone, and Sistrunk rounded the defender, adjusting to the ball.
Other than that, the Class 5A Lions struggled against their 6A competition in their first game under new head coach Michael Easley.
“I didn’t really care about that. I worried about us as a team,” said Easley, who served seven seasons as Saks’ offensive coordinator before taking his head-coaching shot at Munford. “We knew coming in we couldn’t make any mistakes. That’s a really good team over there. We knew coming in that we were going to be outmatched at a lot of spots.
“At the end of the day, that’s my job. I didn’t get them ready to play. We got beat tonight, and that’s my fault.”