PELL CITY — A fast start was all Oxford needed on Friday night.
In front of a packed house in the region opener for both Oxford and Pell City, the visiting Yellow Jackets rolled up 305 yards on offense in the first half and took a 41-7 lead to the halftime locker room.
That score held in the second half, and Oxford boarded the bus with its first region victory of 2019.
“I think our guys played a great first half,” Oxford head coach Keith Etheredge said. “We just wanted to maintain, get out healthy in the second half.”
Etheredge was making his first return to Pell City since serving as head coach of the Panthers in 2016-17.
The Yellow Jackets (3-0, 1-0) scored touchdowns on all five of their offensive possessions in the first half. Junior quarterback Revy Higgins was the key to the attack, opening the game with a 60-yard completion to Rokafewlloa Taylor and ultimately accounting for four of those five TDs.
Higgins finished with 251 total yards, 175 of those through the air. Taylor caught four passes for 113 yards and a score.
Oxford’s leading rusher was senior Jonovan Carlisle, who finished with 95 yards and a 13-yard touchdown that made the score 21-0 in favor of the visitors before the first quarter even ended.
Pell City (1-2, 0-1) was led by senior quarterback Mitchell Gossett’s 47 yards through the air. The Panthers’ lone touchdown came from senior Keton Seals, who scored from 2 yards out on the first play of the second quarter.
The Panthers did not earn a first down in the second half.
“(Oxford) jumped on us early,” Pell City head coach Wayne Lee said. “Once a team that’s that talented gets ahead of you like that, there’s no way you can come back.”
Three to know
- Oxford quarterback Revy Higgins controlled the game with 175 yards passing and 76 yards on the ground. He completed three touchdown passes to three different receivers and ran for another.
- Oxford’s Trequan Fegans converted a score for the Yellow Jacket defense with a 25-yard interception return that turned out to be the game’s final score.
- Pell City’s Keton Seals scored the lone TD for the Panthers, a 2-yard run in the second quarter.
-- Oxford head coach Keith Etheredge: “I got a lot of respect for ... Pell City. I love these people here. It’s great to come on the road and get a win, but you root for those kids, because all those kids played for me.”
-- Pell City head coach Wayne Lee: “We didn’t tackle well today, at all. That’s a big weakness right there. It’s kind of been (that way) for three games, and we’ve got to get it fixed moving forward. Second thing, our blocking and execution … we’ve got to execute better on offense as well.”
-- Oxford returns home to face Charles Henderson for homecoming.
-- Pell City will stay in region play, traveling to Gardendale