Senior Damien Chrisp carries the ball for A-J. Also in the photo are A-J’s Reid Morrison, a senior, number 28, and senior Noah Craig, number 70.A-J senior Wyatt Johnson, number 9, looks for some running room. Also in the photo are A-J’s Damien Chrisp, a senior, number 27, and senior Reid Morrison, number 28.A-J senior Reid Morrison, number 28, tries to elude the Murphysboro defense. Also in the photo are A-J’s Noah Craig, a senior, number 70; senior Nate Kisat, number 2; and senior Tyler Smith, number 1.

Murphysboro outscores A-J

For the second week, the Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team let a lead slip away in a 27-23 loss to host Murphysboro Friday, Aug. 31.

“We’ve got to do better on defense,” A-J coach Brett Detering said. “We had breakdowns on our defense and gave up the big play.”

With a 16-13 halftime lead, the Wildcats fumbled opening kickoff in their own territory to open the third quarter.

“You can’t make those mistakes in a close game,” Detering said.

Two plays later, the Red Devils’ Zane Caraway scored on an 18-yard run.

The extra-point kick was off the mark and the Red Devils took a 19-16 lead with 11:07 remaining in the third quarter.

The Wildcats bounced right back to take the lead. Quarterback Conner Jerolds scored on a 13-yard run at the end of a lengthy 14-play drive.

Noah Treece kicked the extra point and A-J led 23-19 with 4:23 remaining in the quarter.

The Red Devils were forced to punt on their next possession.

A-J’s drive then stalled  on an incomplete pass on a fourth down play. 

Murhysboro’s next drive was halted and forced a punt. A-J’s ensuing drive stalled to also force a punt.

On the punt to the Red Devils, Hunter Meade  made a 46-yard return to move the ball to A-J’s 23-yard line.

Two plays later, Caraway scored on a 5-yard run. Quarterback Jamarr McZeke made the conversion points run to boost the Red Devils to a 27-23 lead with 2:40 remaining in the game.

Murphysboro then attempted an onside kick and Nick Sanders recovered for A-J at midfield.

The Wildcats wasted little time driving down field.

However, with no time outs remaining and the clock down to 10 seconds, the Wildcats drove to the 8-yard line before quarterback Jerolds was halted after a one-yard gain to end the game.

The game didn’t begin well for the Wildcats.

Jake Hoppenstedt made a 56-yard run to move the ball to A-J’s 35-yard line.

Two plays later, quarterback McZeke connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dezmond Clark.

Max Hoem’s extra point kick put the Red Devils ahead 7-0 with 11:01 remaining in the opening quarter.

Devon Toliver then moved the Wildcats to midfield on a nifty kickoff return.

Twelve plays later, Nate Kisat scored on a 5-yard run. Reed Morrison ran in the two-point conversion and A-J moved ahead 8-7 with 3:57 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Red Devils’ next drive stalled when Wyatt Johnston picked off McZeke’s pass.

On the ensuing drive the Wildcats lost the ball on a fumble.

McZeke then connected with Meade for a 70-yard TD strike. The extra point kick was off and Murphysboro led 13-8 with 1:27 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Wildcats came right back. After an 11-play drive, Quarterback Jerolds made a 13-yard TD pass to Luke McMahan.

Kisat made the conversion point run and A-J led 16-13 with 8:40 remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats’ defense came though in the waning seconds of the first half and stopped Caraway on a fourth down and short yardage run.

“We’re probably four or five plays from being 2-0,” Detering said. “We’re not able to make the plays when we need to.”

Jerolds led A-J’s 214 yard rushing attack with 79 yards on 24 carries. Damian Chrisp had 50 yards on 20 carries. Kisat added 26 yards on 8 carries and Morrison had 35 yards on 4  carries.

Jerolds was 4 of 8 passing for 45 yards with Kisat leading the way with 29 yards on 2 receptions.

“We’ve not had that explosive play,” Detering said. “We’ve not been able to do that this year.”

Despite the loss, Detering remains optimistic.

“We’ve got a long season to go and we’ve got to stay on top of it,” Detering said. “Our kids played with great effort. “




The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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