HAZEL GREEN — It was the first home playoff game in Hazel Green High School history, and it will be something the Trojans will remember for long. Visiting Oxford pounded Hazel Green 42-14 in the first round of the Class 6A state bracket.
The Yellow Jackets ruled the ground in the first half as they had three running backs turn in big nights.
Running back Tyetus Lindsey-Smith ended up with 270 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns. He had 133 yards before intermission.
Quarterback Trey Higgins ended the night with 176 yards on nine carries and had 69-yard and 29-yard touchdown runs called back. He had 100 yards in the first half alone.
Jonovan Carlisle rushed for 97 yards on three first-half carries.
“I am proud of our kids tonight,” Oxford head coach Ryan Herring said. “Carlisle was doing some kind of blocking in there along with the rest of the line. There were some violent collisions in there and Carlisle had most of them.”
The Yellow Jackets ended up with 562 yards rushing. They did have four turnovers to none for Hazel Green.
Oxford took its opening drive 80 yards in 10 plays and got the score on a 41-yard run by Higgins. The Jackets next possession started on their own 2-yard line. After a couple of penalties, Carlisle busted it up the middle and outran the Trojans for a 94-yard touchdown and a 14-0 first quarter lead.
Oxford shot itself in the foot most of the second quarter as they had three possessions that ended in an interception, fumble and being stopped on downs.
Late in the second half, the Jackets put together an 80-yard drive that ended on a spectacular diving catch of a 20-yard fourth down pass by Zay Britt from Higgins. This gave Oxford a 21-0 halftime lead.
Smith-Lindsey bolted 66 yards on the Yellow Jackets first possession of the second half to extend the lead. Smith-Lindsey added another score from 16 yards out to start the fourth quarter. Higgins broke loose on a 53-yard run later in the fourth quarter to end the Oxford scoring.
What to know
—The game was marred by 41 penalties for 336 yards. Oxford incurred 16 of those penalties for 173 yards, while the Trojans had 25 penalties for 163 yards. “I do not think I have ever been in a game with that many penalties,” Herring said.
—The Trojans ended with 125 yards of total offense. Kendall McCallum led a stingy Yellow Jackets defense with nine tackles and three sacks.
—Herring tied his dad Robert for the most wins in the first six years as a Jackets head coach. They both stand at 49-20 in their first six seasons.
—Higgins on the running game and how the wet weather affected it: “We knew the field was going to be wet and we would need to run the ball and we did.”
—Smith-Lindsey on his big night: “I thank my coaches and my linemen were opening up humongous holes.”
—The Yellow Jackets (9-2) will host a second-round game next week against Decatur, which beat previously unbeaten Jackson-Olin.