Monday, September 20, 2010

SPORTS >> Red Devils’ balancing act beats Trojans

IN SHORT: Jacksonville gets 205 yards in the air and 238 on the ground to win.

Special to The Leader

HOT SPRINGS — Hot Springs did what its coach asked Friday night, but it wasn’t enough to stop Jacksonville.

The Red Devils put a balanced attack to work and beat Hot Springs 42-21, taking their second consecutive victory under new coach Rick Russell. The Red Devils (2-1) won just two games overall last season.

First-year Hot Springs coach Chris Vereen asked for fundamentally sound football on both sides of the line and a focus on assignments. He also wanted to see the Trojans convert their energy in practice to a game night performance at Holt Memorial Field.
Hot Springs improved in most areas, gaining 429 yards, but turned the ball over six times in a 42-21 home loss, dropping to 0-3. Jacksonville totaled 443 yards, 205 passing and 238 rushing.

Quarterback Logan Perry carried six times for 107 yards and completed 12 of passes for 205 yards. D’Vone McClure had five catches for 90 yards and Jamison Williams had five for 91.

“I honestly felt like we were good for four quarters tonight,” said Vereen, whose team lost to Pulaski Robinson 42-21 and Glen Rose 32-14 in the first two weeks.

“The effort was there the entire night and we ended up with over 400 yards of total offense,” Vereen said. “We moved the football, the kids played hard and we didn’t give up when we got down.

“The kids fought all night long, and that is also one thing we liked about the first two games. We got effort for four quarters. You can’t have over 400 yards of total offense against Jacksonville and not have effort — but goodness gracious, the turnovers.”

Jacksonville scored on its first possession, with McClure breaking loose for a 26-yard run to cap a 53-yard, seven-play drive. Aaron Shore’s extra-point attempt sailed wide, leaving it 6-0 with 5:08 off the clock.

Chris Hughes plunged one yard for a tying touchdown and Andrew Ellars kicked to put the Trojans ahead, 7-6, with under the two minutes to go in the first half.

Jacksonville responded with a four-play, 73-yard scoring drive for a 12-7 halftime lead. Perry threw for 41 yards on the possession and ran the last 17 yards for the score.

Jacksonville quickly scored 16 points early in the third quarter for a 28-7 lead.

On second and 30, Perry broke loose up the middle for 75 yards and then hit McClure on a two-point pass. Sophomore Shaquille Davis ran 13 yards for the other touchdown and passed to McClure for two points.

Hot Springs pulled within 28-14 on Hughes’ 12-yard run and Ellars’ extra point with 6:23 left, but Jacksonville settled matters with a pair of touchdowns and conversions.
Following an interception, Christopher Woods scored from 21 yards out with 4:56 left. Brandon Brockman later returned a fumble 90 yards, with Shore’s point after making it 42-14.

Rolando Johnson ran 73 yards for Hot Springs’ final touchdown and Ellars kicked the extra point.

“You can’t win football games turning the ball over like we did tonight,” Vereen said. “When you look and you have 400 yards of total offense, and you have 21 points to show for it, that’s not very good.

“Anyway you look at it, at worst, every 80 yards of offense should equal a score, and a lot of times less than that.

“It just all goes back to the turnovers. That’s the bottom line.”

Hughes led the Trojans with 98 yards on 16 carries and Johnson added 92 on 13 carries.
Quarterback D’Andre Hood completed five of 12 passes for 128 yards and one interception. Tyree Sampson had three catches for 105 yards.