IRONDALE — The Oxford Yellow Jackets scored 17 quick points and went on to defeat the Shades Valley Mounties 38-20 in a Class 6A, Region 6 contest Friday night at the Frank A. Nix Memorial Athletic Complex. The victory clinched a playoff spot.
The banged up Jackets (7-0, 4-0) used the passing game in the first quarter to overpower the Mounties (2-6, 1-3). Jackets quarterback Trey Higgins connected with Torrance Vincent for 30 yards and 34 yards to Roc Taylor to set up a 30-yard field goal by Andrew Warhurst.
The next score came on the first offensive play of the night for the Mounties when Oxford's Trequon Fegans picked up a fumble and returned it 30 yards for a score. Higgins then found Taylor in the end zone for a 36-yard scoring pass.
The Jackets' last score of the half came on a 28-yard pass to Taylor.
The lone Mounties first-half score came after the Yellow Jackets fumbled at their own 2-yard line midway through the second quarter. Noah Freeman banged it in on the first play after the recovery.
Oxford scored twice in the third quarter as Delvon Fegans picked up a fumble on a punt return and returned it 45 yards for a score, and Zay Britt also caught a 42-yard pass from Higgins.
Shades Valley got two scores in the last three minutes on a touchdown run and on a blocked punt.
What to know
—Oxford held Shades Valley to only 33 total yards in the first half on 19 plays. Oxford had the ball only six plays in the third quarter, yet scored 14 points. Shades Valley had the ball for 17 plays and had no points.
—Oxford is 10-1 all-time against the Mounties and they first met in 1934, with Oxford winning 25-7.
—Higgins finished the game completing 9 of 13 passes for 197 yards
—Higgins on the game: "It was a great win and got us in the playoffs, and we have a few things we need to clean up. I just tried to get the ball to my receivers in a position to make a catch and they made the plays.”
—Taylor on Higgins: "He is a pretty good quarterback and he does a great job of getting the ball to me.”
—Oxford coach Keith Etheredge on the game: “We took control early and I was proud of our kids. We got a little sloppy there at the end, but just a great win for us,”
—The third-ranked Yellow Jackets will be home next week to host the Clay-Chalkville Cougars (5-2, 2-2 Region 6). The Cougars have beaten the Jackets six straight times, with five of those games at home. Finally, Oxford will get a home game with the Cougars, and the game has huge implications in the Class 6A, Region 6 race. Shades Valley returns home to face Guntersville in a non-region game.