By todd traub
Leader sports editor
Jacksonville got back to winning form in a big way with a 29-0, 7A/6A-East Conference victory at Little Rock Hall on Friday.
A week after its conference loss to Jonesboro, Jacksonville posted a defensive effort that featured two goal line stands, two blocked punts and a fumble recovery while quarterback Logan Perry passed for three touchdowns.
“I’m very proud of our football team,” first year Jacksonville coach Rick Russell said. “Little Rock Hall had a good defense and they put a lot of pressure on us and they just kept plugging. We put some good plays together and made some good things happen.”
Under Russell, the former defensive coordinator who returned as head coach this year, the Red Devils (4-2, 2-1) are now able to think about reaching the postseason after winning just two games last year.
“We’ll take it week by week and we’re excited,” Russell said. “We’re trying to get a good seed in the playoffs”
The Red Devils made their goal line stops in the first quarter and midway through the third. Rhakeem James forced a fumble that J.D. Harrison returned 17 yards to set up Jacksonville’s last touchdown that came on a 14-yard pass from Perry to Xavier Brown early in the fourth quarter.
Brown added a 31-yard field goal in the closing minutes.
Jacksonville’s first score came on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Perry to Fletcher Berkley in the first quarter.
“Logan did a good job moving in the pocket and finding the open receiver,” Russell said. And Fletcher was alone on the right sideline.”
Russell said Berkley had caught a pass in every game but came up big Friday.
“He was the long receiver tonight,” Russell said.
Antwone Mosby scored on a three-yard run to make it 13-0 in the second quarter, and the Warriors stopped the Red Devils’ conversion run after an offsides penalty on Hall led Jacksonville to go for it.
D’Vone McClure outjumped two defenders in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown reception that made it 19-0, following a missed extra point, in the third quarter.
“It was a great pass and a great catch by D’Vone,” Russell said.
McClure also reversed field on a run that set up Brown’s field goal that ended the scoring.
Russell said he was concerned Hall would try to run the kind of sweeps that Jonesboro used to great success in the previous week’s 34-20 victory. But a week of film study and chalk talk had the Red Devils ready, Russell said.
“We made some adjustments and alignments and in our line stunts and we did a good job following through with our game plan,” Russell said.