Saturday, October 05, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils back on winning track

Special to The Leader

Jacksonville took advantage of good field position the entire game to defeat Little Rock McClellan 31-6 Friday night at Jan Crow Stadium.

In a must-win situation after going down on the road last week at Helena-West Helena Central, the Red Devils (2-3, 1-1) shut out the Crimson Lions in the first half to build a 21-0 halftime lead, and continued their domination throughout the final two quarters.

“The defense played well and got the football to the offense in decent field position,” said Jacksonville head coach Rick Russell. “Then the offense took the field and took control of the running game. I’m proud of our running backs and our line did a good job blocking. Our perimeter wide receivers did a good job of blocking also. One of our goals tonight was to make a statement that we can run the football, and we did that.”

Malcolm Crudup recovered Jesper Wellshaupt’s onside kick on the McClellan 39-yardline to start the game. Lamont Gause took over from there on three-straight rushes, carrying the ball for 6 yards, then all the way to the 1-yard line before finishing the drive on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 Red Devil lead in the opening minute.

The Lions were forced to punt on their first possession, and Jacksonville again had good field position on the McClellan 43-yard line. Reggie Barnes passed to Robert Harris for 8 yards. A Gause run plus a face-mask penalty moved the ball to the 18-yard line, where it was Gause again to the 4-yard line. On third down, Barnes hit Devin James to the 1-yard line. On fourth down, the Red Devils were unable to punch it into the end zone and McClellan took over on downs.

The Lions moved the ball to their own 30-yard line before a fumble recovery by Jacksonville’s Justin Abbott gave the Red Devils the ball on the McClellan 29.

Jacksonville couldn’t take advantage and turned the ball over on downs.

The Red Devils’ next possession started at the McClellan 33-yard line. On third down, Robert Knowlin ran for a first down to the 23. He then carried again to the 2-yard line where Gause took the ball in for his second touchdown of the night. The point-after attempt was no good and the lead was 13-0.

The Lions were forced to punt, and again the Red Devils had good field position at midfield. On third down, Gause got free to the 21-yard line. Damon Thomas finished the drive with a touchdown run from the 17-yard line. Knowlin carried the two-point conversion attempt into the end zone for a 21-0 Jacksonville advantage.

Starting the second half with good field position yet again on the Lion 45-yard line, Jacksonville wasted no time in scoring. Knowlin carried to the 29, with Gause taking it in from there for his third touchdown. Herrmann’s extra point gave the Red Devils a 28-0 lead.

The Lions’ scoring drive started at their own 16-yard line. A run by Sidney Tillman for a first down and a penalty against Jacksonville moved the ball to the 42. Derion Galvin moved the chains to the Red Devil 40-yard line, but a bad snap moved the Lions back to their own 46.

On fourth and 24, Hayden Peters connected on a long pass with Deon Johnson to the Jacksonville 17-yard line. Then on fourth and 14, Peters hit Johnson again to the 1-yard line, and Ezekiel Baldwin finished the drive with the touchdown run from there.

The 2-point conversion attempt was no good, leaving the score 28-6 in favor of the home team with 1:33 to go in the third quarter.

McClellan drove to the Red Devil 35-yard line on its next possession when a big sack by Austin McCullough took the Lions back to the 48-yard line. A fourth and 19 resulted in the ball going over on downs to the Red Devils.

Crudup and Harris had good runs for Jacksonville before a fumble gave the ball back to the Lions.

A sack by Titus O’Neil helped the Red Devils get the ball back and Herrmann was good on a 34-yard field goal attempt for the final margin of 31-6.

Jacksonville had 196 yards of offense in the first half, while holding the Crimson Lions to 87.

The Red Devils make the short trip to Sylvan Hills next Friday night.