A-J scores big homecoming win over visiting Panthers
Trailing 7-0 early in the game following a fumble, the host Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team ignited for six unanswered touchdowns on its way to a 50-7 win over visiting Pinckneyville at The Pit Friday night, Sept. 30.
“All phases of our game, both offense, defense and special teams played well,” A-J coach Brett Detering said. “Our kids battled really well, I was pleased with our effort.”
The victory was even more gratifying because it was the Wildcats’ homecoming. With the victory, A-J improved to 5-1 overall. The Panthers fell to 1-5 overall.
“There’s a lot going on during the week of homecoming,” Detering said. “It’s a nice way to finish off the week.”
After receiving the kick on the opening drive, the Wildcats’ offense took over and moved to midfield. However, the ball was stripped from an A-J runner and the Panthers’ Alex Howard raced 45 yards for a TD.
Dylan Carns’ extra point kick put Pinckneyville on top 7-0 with 9:04 remaining in the first quarter.
A-J followed up with a lengthy drive that was halted on fourth down at the Panthers’ 1-yard line.
“On the first drive we turn the ball over and give up a score,” Detering said. “Then, we’re stopped on the one-yard line. The demons from last week showed up in the first quarter. But after that, we got things going.”
Four plays later, the Panthers fumbled and Dylan Fox recovered for A-J at the 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Wildcat quarterback Bryce Osman connected with Caleb Clover for a 19-yard TD pass.
Jaycee Turner scored on the two point conversion run and A-J led 8-7 with 11:32 remaining in the second quarter.
The Wildcats’ defense went to work and appeared to tackle Howard in the end zone for a safety. However, following a lengthy discussion, the officials ruled he went out of bounds on the 3-yard line.
Following the ensuing punt, the Wildcats were on the move again. Osman scored on a 12-yard run to cap a 7-play drive. The extra point kick was blocked and A-J led 14-7 with 6:26 remaining in the first half.
The Panthers were forced to punt on their next drive. Jaycee Turner blocked Carns’ punt and AJ’s Nick Jimenez recovered near midfield.
Eight plays later, Jaycee Turner scored on a 1-yard plunge. Osman passed to Fox for the conversion points and A-J was in front 22-7 with 46:6 remaining in the first half.
The ensuing kickoff was fumbled and Nate Kisat recovered for the Wildcats. Four plays later, Jaycee Turner scored again on a 2-yard run. The conversion run was stopped and A-J led 28-7 with :22 seconds remaining in the first half.
“That was another big play by our special teams,” Detering noted. “Those were both big series with two scores right before half.”
In the second quarter, A-J’s Jackson Boyd went down with a compound fracture of the leg.
“It was a tough injury,” said Detering, who noted Boyd had surgery over the weekend on the leg. The A-J coach said that the player faces a long road to recovery.
It didn’t get any better for the Panthers the second half.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats’ Clover raced 95-yards for a TD. He added the conversion run and A-J was ahead 36-7 with 11:45 remaining in the third quarter.
Pinckneyville fumbled the kickoff and A-J recovered.
Five plays later, Trenton Turner scored on a 4-yard run. Sheldon McGrath kicked the extra point for a 43-7 Wildcats lead with 9:36 remaining in the third quarter.
“At that point, we started substituting our other kids to give them a chance to play,” Detering said.
Following a Panther punt, the Wildcats were again on the move.
Reserve quarterback Noah Smith connected with Kyle McMahan for a 19-yard TD pass after a 9-play drive.
McGrath’s kick closed out the scoring with 11:22 remaining in the final quarter.
“They scored and we were able to keep the game clock running,” Detering said
The clock only stops for touchdowns after teams get ahead by 40 points.
The Panther offense was held to 115 yards rushing and minus yards passing.
“We had a lot of ball control when a team gets a little over 100 yards of offense,” Detering said. “It was an outstanding effort from our defense.”
Trenton Turner had 68 yards rushing on 13 carries to lead the Wildcats. Osman had 55 yards on 10 carries. Damian Chrisp had 54 yards on 4 carries. Clover had 47 yards on 5 carries. Jaycee Turner had 34 yards on 7 carries.
Osman was 2-of-4 passing for 28 yards. Smith was 1 of 1 passing for 19 yards.