Saturday, October 22, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Devils get another victory at Jan Crow

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville scored first, but a series of mistakes on kickoffs, costly penalties and a linearly challenged official conspired to give the West Memphis Blue Devils 28-straight first half points on its way to a 54-7 victory Friday at Jan Crow Stadium.

Jacksonville took an early lead on its second possession when quarterback Harderrious Martin started Friday’s game the same way he ended last week’s game, with a touchdown pass to Jonathan Hall, only last night’s pass was much deeper.

Martin scrambled to his right and unleashed a throw from the 50-yard line just before taking a hit. The ball hit Hall in stride at the back of the end zone and Darrel Kimble-Brooks added the extra point, giving Jacksonville a 7-0 lead with 5:41 left in the first quarter.

West Memphis responded with its own big play. On the fifth play of the ensuing drive, quarterback Amarius Stinnett hit Kordell Fenner 15 yards downfield. Fenner then raced the rest of the way for a 71-yard scoring strike that tied the game with 2:42 left in the first.

That’s when things really started going wrong for Jacksonville.

The Titans fumbled the ensuing kickoff and West Memphis covered it at the 14-yard line. It was the only kick return of the first half that the Titans lost, but they fumbled all of them.

Two Stinnett runs and 18 seconds after the turnover, West Memphis led 14-7.

A fumble for a loss of 3 yards and a penalty forced a three-and-out series for Jacksonville. West Memphis took over on its own 34 and marched down the field.

The drive took 14 plays and ended with a 10-yard draw play to Devontae Dean. With 6:38 to go in the half, the Blue Devils led 21-7.

Another flubbed kick meant a -12 yard return and Jacksonville started at its own 20.

The Titans were driving, going 42 yards in five plays, but a sack and two penalties moved them backwards and forced a punt from near midfield.

West Memphis took over at its own 22 with 2:15 left in the half, but 30 yards in penalties on Jacksonville helped the Devils down the field.

The first penalty came on second and 12 after an 18-yard gain. That play plus the penalty moved the ball from the West Memphis 30 to the Jacksonville 37.

Jacksonville’s Kendrick Rhynes then stuffed Dean for a 2-yard loss. Time was running out on the Blue Devils after a pass went for just 4 yards, but Jacksonville defensive coordinator Bryan Eagle was called for interfering with the line judge. The official did run into the JHS coach, but Eagle was behind his boundary. The official veered off the sideline and into Eagle, but the call stood.

The penalty stopped the clock with 35 seconds left, moved the ball to the Titan 18 and turned what would have been third and 8 and a moving clock into first down.

On the next play, Dean made an 18-yard touchdown reception for a 28-7 Blue Devil lead.

The second half played out much like the first. It took West Memphis until nearly the end of the third quarter to score again, but touchdowns came frequently in the fourth.

A 60-yard run by Martavis Thomas set up a first down at the 15. West Memphis had to convert a fourth and 9 and did so with a 10-yard run by Stinnett. Thomas got the last 2 with 1:53 left in the third quarter.

Another miscue on a kickoff left Jacksonville pinned inside its own 10, and the Titans ended up punting from 34.

Fenner then made his second long touchdown reception with 11:13 left in the game. The extra point was no good, leaving the score 41-7.

On the ensuing drive, Martin fumbled the shotgun snap and Blue Devil Darius Hodges picked the ball up and ran 20 yards for another score with 9:29 to go.

The next West Memphis drive started at the Jacksonville 29 after a dropped pass on fourth down by the Titans.

Quincy Marshall then ran 16 yards on the fifth play for the final touchdown of the game with 2:58 remaining and another missed PAT left the score 54-7.

West Memphis finished with 480 yards of offense to just 196 for Jacksonville. Shawn Ellis led the Titans with 84 rushing yards in 17 carries.