Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils 4-2 at LR Parkview

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville 7-on-7 team went 4-2 at a 16-team tournament at Little Rock Parkview last Friday. The Red Devils started pool play by beating the team that eventually won the tournament, topping Little Rock Central 27-24. They finished with a 14-7 second-round loss in tournament play to Pulaski Academy.

In between were ups and downs, but mostly ups according to Jacksonville head coach Rick Russell.

“We had one big lull there in our second game, but other than that we’re extremely pleased with how things went overall,” Russell said. “I felt like we played well offensively and defensively, but what we also did that I was really glad to see, is that we started to show some team concept. I noticed we were celebrating together and encouraging each other and helping each other out. When you see that camaraderie start to take place with your place and see them acting like a team, that’s a good thing.”

The lull took place against the McClellan Lions. Jacksonville’s varsity lost that game 27-7 rightafter Russell put together a JV unit to take the place of no-show Dollarway, which played McClellan to within one score.

“Isn’t that something,” Russell said. “We just weren’t in sync on anything, offensively or defensively, and McClellan just threw and caught it perfectly. It’s just one of those things that you learn from, then forget about and move on.”

In the final game of pool play, Jacksonville beat Parkview 23-21, then toppled West Memphis 24-21 in the first round of the tournament.

In the second round, Jacksonville and PA were tied at 7-7 with time left for one more play. A pass to the corner of the end zone was covered well, but the PA receiver made the catch.

“I thought we were going to intercept it,” Russell said. “We had two guys right on it, the ball just got through them somehow and the receiver made a great catch.

“Defensively I thought we did a great job in that game. Coach (Larry) Burrows did a great job of getting them in the right defenses and the right spots and they did a great job of defending. Offensively I thought we could have been a little better, but PA has a lot of experience with this offense and they know how to defend it. We’re still learning but I feel really good about the progress we made, and have been making all offseason.”

Jacksonville also lost more than just the game to PA. Starting wideout Terrell Moore went down with dislocations of four metatarsal bones in his foot. The injury will require surgery and three months of recovery.

Jacksonville goes to Pulaski Academy on Friday to take part in the two-day Shootout of the South tournament, which will attract teams from all over the southeast and Texas. The Red Devils’ first game will be against Allen, Texas. The Allen Eagles, who are the preseason, overall No. 1 ranked team in Texas, leave their $60 million, 18,000 seat stadium to play in the humble facilities of the small west Little Rock private school.