Saturday, October 19, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils shut out North Pulaski

Special to The Leader

Crosstown rivals squared off Friday night at Jan Crow Stadium as host Jacksonville tried to keep its playoff hopes alive and injury-hampered North Pulaski tried to pick up its first win of the season. The Red Devils were the team to prevail, dominating the scoring in the first half to end up with a 36-0 victory in front of a homecoming crowd.

Jacksonville (3-4, 2-2) had a total of 359 yards of offense, 221 yards of that in the first half. North Pulaski (0-7, 0-4) had 141 yards of total offense.

“I thought it was a good game. We’ve got to clean up some penalties on the offensive side,” said Jacksonville head coach Rick Russell. “I’d feel a little better about it if we didn’t have as many penalties on offense, but the kids came out and played hard. They were focused and they executed.”

The Falcons moved the ball better than in recent weeks, but ran into various problems that prohibited them from establishing any kind of consistent momentum.

“We were trying to move the football and trying to keep them off the field,” said North Pulaski head coach Teodis Ingram. “We are so beat up and have lost so many starters to injury when I thought we were starting to turn the corner. We’ll keep going.”

North Pulaski had the first possession of the game and started from its own 35-yard line. Kalise Vines picked up a first down to the 49. Vines and Falcon quarterback Michael Barnes carried the ball to the Jacksonville 43-yard line, but when faced with a fourth and 2, the Falcons could not convert.

When the Red Devils took over on downs, Robert Knowlin ran for a first down to the North Pulaski 46-yard line. Lamont Gause followed with a first down to the 25. The drive ended when the Falcons’ David Jackson recovered a Red Devil fumble and returned it to the North Pulaski 37-yard line.

The Falcons returned the favor and fumbled, giving Jacksonville the ball on the North Pulaski 40-yard line. Gause moved the chains to the 26, but then the Red Devils’ offense went backwards until fourth and 12, when quarterback Reggie Barnes kept the ball and carried it to the 14-yard line for the first down.

Reggie Barnes then hit Robert Harris for the touchdown catch and the first score of the game. Jesper Wellshaupt added the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

Jacksonville’s defense held the Falcons to a three and out, then blocked the punt that ensued. Justin Abbott picked the ball up and took it in for the touchdown. Wellshaupt’s extra point was good for a 14-0 Red Devil lead with 2:49 to go in the first quarter.

North Pulaski started the next possession on its 20-yard line. Vines, Michael Barnes and a 15-yard penalty moved the ball to midfield. However, on the first play of the second quarter, the Falcons fumbled again and Jacob Price recovered for Jacksonville on the North Pulaski 48-yard line.

The Red Devils could not take advantage of the turnover, and the teams exchanged punts.

It was all Gause when Jacksonville got the ball on its 33-yard line. His first down run to the 44-yard line was followed by a pick up of 9 yards. Then on third down, Gause broke free from the North Pulaski 45-yard line and ran the ball into the end zone for the score. John Herrmann added the point after for a 21-0 Red Devil advantage.

After Jacksonville forced another Falcon punt, it was Damon Thomas carrying the ball for the Red Devils’ first down at the North Pulaski 42-yard line. Reggie Barnes connected with Harris for another first down to the 25. Jacksonville moved the chains again, and Reggie Barnes carried on a keeper to the 6.

A holding call moved the ball back to the 15-yard line where it was second and 10 with five seconds remaining in the half. Reggie Barnes’ pass fell incomplete, but a pass-interference call gave the Red Devils another shot at the end zone. Taking advantage, Reggie Barnes completed a pass to Harris with no time on the clock for the touchdown. Herrmann’s extra-point try was no good, leaving the halftime score at 27-0.

Jacksonville scored on the first possession of the second half when Reggie Barnes completed a touchdown pass to KaJahn Daniels with 9:53 left in the third quarter. A two-point conversion was no good, and the lead was now 33-0.

The final score of the game came on the Red Devils’ ensuing drive. Thomas ran for a first down, and Reggie Barnes completed to Devin James for a first down to the Falcon 39.

On third and 13, Reggie Barnes completed a pass to Harris for an apparent touchdown, but the third penalty of the drive brought the ball back to the 17-yard line. On fourth and 6, Wellshaupt was successful on a 29-yard field goal attempt for the final margin of 36-0.

Jacksonville will travel to face LR Christian next week, while North Pulaski will be at home against West Helena.