A-J scores 63 points in win
Ahead by one touchdown at the half, the Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team exploded for four TDs in the third quarter on its way to a 63-33 win over host Benton Friday night, Oct. 21.
“We didn’t play as well as I would have liked in the first half,” A-J coach Brett Detering said. “We had some words of encouragement for them at the half. We challenged them and they played much better.”
The win improved the Wildcats to 7-2 and they now play in the Class 3A playoffs in first-round action at Fairfield this Saturday.
“We needed to get that seventh win and that was our goal,” Detering said. “We had a lot of big plays on our offense, defense and special teams. Offensively, we didn’t punt and we didn’t fumble the ball.”
The Rangers fell to 4-5 overall and with the loss were eliminated from the playoffs.
The Wildcats played like a team on a mission in the second half.
After receiving the opening kick off to start the second half, Jayce Turner scored on a 76-yard run on the first play.
Sheldon McGrath’s extra point kick put the Wildcats ahead 28-14 with 11:40 left in the third quarter.
On the Rangers second play, Jayce Turner intercepted quarterback Hamilton Page’s deflected pass.
On a three-play drive, which was fueled around a long pass from quarterback Bryce Osman to Ariah Hart, Trenton Turner scored on a 1-yard run.
“Jayce’s (TD) run was huge for us and he intercepts a pass and we’re able to score again,” Detering said. “I felt like we were in control from then on.”
After McGrath’s extra point kick, the Wildcats were ahead 35-14 with 9:38 remaining in the third quarter.
The Rangers then mounted a 9-play drive and scored on a 22-yard pass from Page to Grante Hungate. The conversion pass was incomplete and Benton pulled to 35-20 with 6:01 left in the third quarter.
A-J bounced right back with Jayce Turner scoring on a 13-yard run to cap a 7-play drive. McGrath’s extra point kick boosted A-J to a 42-20 lead with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter.
Following a Benton punt, the Wildcats were driving again.
After three plays, Osman connected with Caleb Clover for a 53-yard TD pass. McGrath’s kick put A-J on top 49-20 with 29 seconds left in the third period.
To open the final quarter, Benton fumbled on its first drive midfield and Hart recovered for A-J.
Jayce Turner raced 48-yards for a TD on the first play. McGrath’s kick gave A-J a commanding 56-20 advantage with 9:58 remaining in the game.
Page came right back to score again for the Rangers on a 27-yard TD run. The run for the extra point was stopped and A-J led 56-26 with 7:38 left in the game.
A-J’s Reid Morrison followed with a 5-yard TD run after a 7-play drive. McGrath’s kick closed out the Wildcats scoring at 63-26 with 4:17 remaining in the game.
Page closed out the scoring on the Rangers next drive with a 16-yard TD pass to Oliver Davis with 2:14 remaining in the game.
However, Benton had its most impressive drive of the game on the opening kickoff.
Page connected with Davis for a 16-yard TD pass after a 10-play drive. The extra point kick was good and the Rangers held a 7-0 lead with 8:07 remaining in the first quarter.
A-J bounced right back and Jayce Turner scored on 4-yard run to cap a 7-play drive. McGrath’s kick tied the game 7-7 with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter.
Hart recovered a fumble on the Rangers opening play on their next drive.
Jayce Turner then scored on the first play on a 15-yard run. McGrath’s kick put A-J on top 14-7 with 4:19 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats drove downfield and were halted on a fourth down play at the 1-yard line.
Benton then launched a 11-play drive with Page scoring on a 1-yard run. Davis kicked the extra point to knot the game 14-14 with 6:45 remaining in the second quarter.
“We were stopped at the 1-yard line and we gave up two 80-yard drives,” Detering said. “We didn’t play well then.”
The Wildcats closed out the scoring in the first half with Osman completing a 33-yard TD pass to Hart to cap an 8-play drive.
McGrath’s kick gave A-J a 21-14 lead it would not relinquish with 2:50 remaining in the half.
Jayce Turner led A-J’s 453 yard rushing attack with 244 yards in 16 carries.
“Jayce had a good game and ran the ball well for us,” Detering said. “He made some big runs. Bryce threw the ball well, too.”
Hart had 69 yards rushing on 4 carries. Morrison added 43 yards rushing on 4 carries. Dylan Fox had 28 yards on 5 carries. Trenton Turner had 26 yards on 7 carries. Clover had 25 yards on 3 carries.
Osman was 4 of 4 passing for 141 yards.
The Rangers’ rushing attack was limited to 158 rushing yards, but Page was 18 of 31 passing for 240 yards.
“He was able to find some receivers,” Detering said. “But our defense got two turnovers from a fumble and an interception and our special teams caused a fumble.”