Saturday, November 13, 2010

SPORTS>>Jacksonville rips Sheridan in first-round playoff game

Leader sportswriter

Big plays on both sides lifted Jacksonville to a 31-7 victory over Sheridan in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs Friday at Jan Crow Stadium.

The Red Devils (7-4) stopped Sheridan’s offense in the red zone twice and scored on both of their trips inside the 20. The rest of their points came on long runs and a 23-yard touchdown pass from senior Logan Perry to Aron Smith with 2:11 left for the final margin.

“We took what they gave us,” Red Devils coach Rick Russell said. “We were worried about their blitz off the edges. We wanted to win this football game. We did what we thought we needed to do.

“The offensive line did a great job of protecting the football and put is in position to make some first downs, and we turned those first downs into touchdowns.”

The Yellowjackets (4-7) kept Jacksonville’s offense off the field with sustained drives, but missed on their first scoring opportunity midway through the first quarter when the Red Devils stopped them on downs at the Jacksonville 6.

Sheridan had another first-and-goal at the Red Devil 5-yard line early in the fourth quarter before two failed runs and two incompletions gave it back to Jacksonville.

“I thought that was part of the difference; I thought their big plays was obviously another part,” Sheridan coach Louis Campbell said. “Bottom line is, they didn’t have to convert —they could score from long range, and we didn’t. We had two of them down there inside the 10, and didn’t get any points from either one of them.”

Senior running back Antwone Mosby put the Red Devils offense on his back in the second half with 151 of his total 194 rushing yards. That     included a 62-yard run to open Jacksonville’s first possession of the third quarter and set up a first down at the Sheridan 12.

Smith ran it up the middle two plays later from 10 yards out to give the Red Devils a 19-7 lead.

Mosby struck again with 9:45 left to play with a 60-yard run, this time giving Jacksonville a first down at the Sheridan 19. A motion penalty set the Devils back five, but Perry called his own number on first down and took it 24 yards to make it 25-7.

Sheridan’s offense had its moments, gaining 191 total yards. Junior quarterback Jake Smith had a 14-of-25 performance through the air for 105 yards.

But the Red Devils clamped down on the run, holding senior fullback Charles Fletcher to 42 yards on 13 carries and Smith to 32 yards on 16 carries.

Red Devil sophomore Jacarius Jordan led Jacksonville’s secondary with a pair of critical pass breakups, including one on the goal line in the first quarter on a play that could have tied the game.

“He had a great week of practice,” Russell said of Jordan. “He was focused, he makes all our calls in the secondary – just a tremendous job. The way he prepared in practice this week was the way he played tonight.”

The Red Devils took the lead two plays into the game when junior utility back D’Vone McClure broke a draw play open for a 50-yard touchdown run with 11:02 left in the first quarter. Aaron Shore added the extra point to make the score 7-0.

McClure finished with nine carries for 73 yards and had another 34 yards on five catches.

The Yellowjackets threatened on their second drive when they drove from the Jacksonville 43 to the 6, but could not convert on fourth down. Smith tried to find Josh Miller in the end zone, but Jordan broke up the play and almost came down with an interception and nothing but clear field in front of him.

The Red Devils overcame the poor field position and marched 94 yards in nine plays, highlighted by a 28-yard run by Braylin Thomas to give Jacksonville a first down at the Sheridan 41-yard line.

Mosby got the last three carries, gaining 18 yards to the 24 on his first, and a sideline infraction penalty against the Yellowjackets moved it half the distance to the 12. Mosby then ran for five yards and finished it off with a three-yard rush up the middle to put Jacksonville up 13-0 with 11:18 left in the first half.

Sheridan struck before the end of the half on a 54-yard drive that still consumed 6:40 and was capped by a six-yard keeper by Smith with 56 seconds left in the half. The Yellowjackets lined up three receivers in a stack formation to the left, and Smith bootlegged to the right for the score.

The Red Devils had 444 yards of total offense.

Jacksonville will face 6A-South No. 2 seed Pine Bluff next week in the state quarterfinals.

“It’s one week at a time,” Russell said. “Sheridan was a lower seed, and they gave us all we wanted. We’re going to expect to win; we’re going to prepare to win, and have an offensive and defensive game plan ready.”