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Prep football: With QB set to return next week, Golden Eagles ‘wildcat’ Wildcats

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Jacksonville head coach Clint Smith's team is now 3-1. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

WHITE PLAINS — Two weeks Jacksonville has done without prodigious freshman quarterback Jim Ogle, and two weeks the Golden Eagles have shown they can win another way.

Running back Jae-Taj Morris rambled for 226 yards and four touchdowns, and Omarion “Peanut” Adams added his second interception return among his two scores as Jacksonville rolled 46-24 at White Plains on Friday.

The Golden Eagles upped to 3-1, including 2-0 in Class 4A, Region 4 … exactly where the Golden Eagles stood this time a year ago, en route to a state-runner-up finish.

That comes with a big caveat, as Jacksonville eyes its two biggest region games, wrapped around one of Calhoun County’s most attractive non-region contests.

“We’ve got Munford coming in for homecoming, followed by going to Piedmont and to Handley, so this is a really big stretch of three really, really good teams,” Jacksonville coach Clint Smith said. “We’ll find out more about ourselves.”

White Plains (2-2) fell to 0-2 in region play, falling to Jacksonville a week after a loss against Cleburne County.

“We’ve got to make some changes and make some adjustments, starting with me,” second-year White Plains coach Chandler Tyree said. “It’s just disheartening the way we came out and started the game.”

Jacksonville rolled to a 34-6 after the first quarter … 12 minutes of game clock that covered roughly 40 actual minutes.

Jacksonville’s first-quarter blitz included Adams’ 48-yard touchdown run and 50-yard interception return for a touchdown, wrapped by Morris touchdown runs of one, 18 and 70 yards. Morris added a 52-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Morris rushed for 197 yards while helping temporary-look Jacksonville build a 46-18 lead at halftime.

With Ogle out, Jacksonville has gone to a “wildcat” and read-game look, with Adams leading the group of four players taking direct snaps at quarterback. A week before Friday’s game, Adams rushed for 213 yards in the first half against Anniston.

“It’s going to help a lot down the road,” Morris said. “We’ve got Jim Ogle coming back next week, so that’s going to help out. We’re going to still be able to throw the ball. The wildcat formation will still work.”

Ogle, in his first season as Jacksonville’s starting quarterback, showed his passing chops in a season-opening victory over St. John Paul II and the loss to Alexandria. He’s missed the past two games because of COVID-19-related contact tracing.

When he comes back next week, Jacksonville will have the passing capability and the “wildcat” game. Adams, Morris and Dreylan Fomby took snaps at quarterback Friday, and each threw at least one pass. Adams, Morris, Kydric Fisher, Jacoby Zackery, G. Turner and Fomby combined for 46 rushes.

“It makes us more multiple, and it gives us that option,” Smith said. “With our depth and our youth, we’re playing a lot of people both ways … it does give us that other look.”

Jacksonville also got field goals of 26 and 29 yards from Mason Terrell.

Quarterback Jaden Chatman led White Plains, completing 16 of 36 passes for 269 yards. He completed touchdown passes of 38 and 16 yards to Carson Tyree, who caught seven passes for 143 yards.

Chatman also rushed for a 1-yard touchdown, and Kahlil Williams ran a kickoff back 85 yards for another one.

The Wildcats outscored the Golden Eagles 18-12 after the first quarter, but the damage was done. White Plains’ remaining region schedule includes Cherokee County next week, Anniston, Munford and Handley.

“It boils down to me; I’ve got to get better,” Chandler Tyree said.“We’ve got to work on tackling, getting lined up, alignment and assignment, executing on both sides of the football, and that starts with me as a head coach. ...

“That’s two weeks in a row that I thought we were ready to play, and we weren’t, obviously.”

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.