Wildcats secure playoff spot with big win over Sparta
After falling short of a playoff bid last season, the Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team earned a bid this year in convincing fashion with a 51-6 win over visiting Sparta Friday, Oct. 14.
“It was a good win for us to getting back in the playoffs,” A-J coach Brett Detering said. “It was most important for us to get number six to get in.”
The Wildcats improved to 6-2 and in recording their sixth win are assured of a playoff berth. It was also a good win because it was the final home game for several players on Senior Night.
“It was a good night for our seniors to get a big win,” Detering said. “We made sure all the seniors played early.”
Rain didn’t hamper the Wildcats on Friday night as it continued through the entire game.
After the Bulldogs were forced to punt on their opening drive of the game, it was all Wildcats after that.
“We knew they were struggling,” Detering said. “We felt like if we could jump on them early we would have a big night.”
Following a five-play drive, Dylan Fox scored a touchdown on a 4-yard run.
Jayce Turner scored the conversion points on a run and A-J led 8-0 with 8:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Kyle McMahan recovered a Sparta fumble to start the next A-J drive. Four plays later, Trenton Turner scored on a 20-yard run.
Caleb Clover scored the extra points on a run and the Wildcats were ahead 14-0 with 5:55 remaining in the opening quarter.
D.J. Latham recovered a Bulldog fumble to set up the next A-J score. On the ensuing play quarterback Bryce Osman connected with Clover for a 15-yard TD pass. Osman kicked the extra point and the Wildcats were 23-0 with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter.
After a Bulldog punt, the Wildcats offense began clicking again.
Fox scored on a 9-yard run. Osman kicked the extra point and A-J was ahead 30-0 with 1:50 remaining in the first quarter.
“The first quarter seemed like it took a long time,” Detering said. “They struggled then to get the ball out of their end.”
The Wildcats’ Jayce Turner scored on a 5-yard run to cap a 7-play drive to open the second quarter. Osman’s kick put A-J ahead 37-0 with 10:43 left in the second quarter.
After a nifty kick off return by Arieh Hart, the Wildcats’ offense was on the move again.
Fox scored on a 9-yard run after three plays. Osman’s kick boosted A-J to a 44-0 lead with 7:33 remaining in the second quarter.
After Clover made a good punt return near midfield, A-J was off again.
Senior Keaton Busby, who hadn’t scored this season, capped a 5-play drive with a 2-yard TD run.
Dalton Seip kicked the extra point to boost the Wildcats to a 51-0 advantage and close out their scoring for the game with 4:42 remaining in the first half.
After a team goes ahead 40 points, the time clock in the second half only halts when a TD is scored.
The Wildcats substituted freely the rest of the first half after the big lead and the entire second half.
With 6:30 remaining in the game, Sparta ended the shutout when running back Justyce Bulliner scored on a 4-yard run. The run for the extra point was halted.
Clover led the Wildcats’ 400-yard rushing attack with 94 yards in 5 carries.
Osman had 75 yards in 3 carries.Trenton Turner had 68 yards in 6 carries. Jayce Turner had 42 yards in 4 carries. Nate Kisat had 42 yards in 4 carries. Fox had 32 yards in 6 carries.
Osman was 1 of 3 passing for 15 yards.
The Bulldogs, who fell to 0-8, were limited to 84 yards rushing and 40 yards passing.